Interrogating utopia: the science fiction of the German Democratic Republic in an age of globalization.

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Interrogating utopia: the science fiction of the German Democratic Republic in an age of globalization.

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The science fiction of the GDR addresses the nature of the technologically-advanced society that has emerged since the end of the Cold War and the concomitant economic, social, and political processes that today are collectively designated by the concept of globalization. It does so, because science fiction is a genre of modernity that innately considers issues of technology, science, and progress through the technique of temporal dislocation. GDR science fiction is one national variant of this modern genre that maintains the prerequisites and conventions that define it across national borders and on the global scale that is this genre's traditionally acknowledged ambit. This dissertation comparatively investigates the thematic and formal ways in which specific science fiction novels and short stories from the period 1979 - 2000 by GDR authors narrativize key elements of the discourse of globalization. By examining the correspondence in theoretical understanding of the genre between East and West, and providing comparative literary examples, it shows how these works are representative examples of the SF genre that utilize the concepts of temporal contraction and technological dependence that are also manifest in the discourse of globalization. Systematically treating both discourses through the juxtaposition of science fiction text and globalization theory, it demonstrates how these socialist narratives both foreshadow and explore the discourse of globalization from the local perspective of the GDR in a global world that was not yet determined by the events of 1989 and the end of the Cold War. The dissertation consists of three core chapters in which a specific GDR story is examined in relation to a particular aspect of globalization. These aspects are surveillance, access, and annexation. Alternately, they could be described as globalization as a political project, as a chimerical projection, and as an imperialistic project of transnational Americanization. Through close textual analysis that employs examples from the commercial media landscape, it illustrates the ways in which these themes are manifested in GDR SF and examines how science fiction has become a customary practice and general hallmark of the era. Science fiction and globalization are not only mutually compatible, but are also logically analogous.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. Major: Germanic Studies. April 2012. Advisor: Rembert Hüser. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 243 pages.

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David, Thomas P.. (2012). Interrogating utopia: the science fiction of the German Democratic Republic in an age of globalization.. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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