Dystopia, also called anti-utopia and matopia, is the counterpart of positive utopia (cf. eutopia). Dystopia is a narrative which shows a negative distortion of future humanity. This future is characterized by a society that has developed into a negative one. Frequent themes are the enslavement of mankind and, in general, the circumcision of all freedoms, which is often caused by an over-powerful technique, which was designed by man himself, but can no longer be dealt with in the future. In addition, dystopia often shows the totalitarian state and its power, with only small groups enjoying privileges and lower and middle class living standards below the level of contemporary societies. There is often a protagonist in these dystopias, who inquires about these social conditions and feels that something is in the arrogance, in which case he rebels against the system or the rulers.
The term is composed of the ancient Greek prefix dys- (δυς), which can be translated with misbehave, evil or evil, and the noun tópos (τόπος), which means place together. Thus the dystopia is a bad place. What is decisive, however, is that the term is used primarily as a counterpart to utopia, which, however, may seem paradoxical in the actual word.
Utopia is, in fact, a non-place (from ancient Greek for “non-” and tópos for “place”), and therefore means the design of a fictive, mostly future, social order. However, the term is mostly used for good and positive social images, which is actually taken by the notion of eutopia. According to this, utopia would be the epitome of eutopia and dystopia, while dystopia and eutopia constitute actual antitheses. In the following article, however, utopia is understood to be the counterpart of dystopia following the general language usage.
Overview: Characteristics of dystopia
Dystopia can often be interpreted as a critique of the social conditions of a time, since it shows which possible, but not yet real, conditions could become a reality in the future. In most cases, it uses scientific knowledge and is critical of it, which attacks technological developments and similar tendencies.
The first literary dystopias are found only in the course of the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century. Although in the literary epochs there were critical voices, which were directed against progress or the natural sciences in general, there were previously no written visions of the future in the literature which showed a negative social picture, which was due to progress and the sciences ,
This destruction of the belief in progress, which was then literally processed, can be determined mainly by four points. 1) The technical development took on an unprecedented scale which at times appeared frightening, whereby for the first time humans were replaced by machines. 2) The years between 1890 and 1914 are consequently determined by a very specific feeling of life in many areas: an essential feature is a downfall mood. This was mainly due to the approaching epoch change. This tendency to decay manifested itself in a pessimistic view of the world, a strong weariness of life, but equally in future euphoria, but also in the future, as well as a turn against progress and thus against naturalism (see Fin de Siècle). 3) The habitable areas and areas in general were in the hands of persons, organizations, institutions and governments: the economic and habitable space was therefore perceived as limited and divided for the first time, 4) many countries were increasingly managed more centrally to a small circle.
Principles of dystopian societies. There are usually several of the features in dystopias.
Industry and economy work with maximum efficiency. The surplus produced is either consumed by a lavish population, flows into martial disputes or is exploited by the (technical) authorities. In general, the reality shown is enormously progressive and modern.
On the surface, a utopian image is designed. The world is free from diseases, poverty, conflict and emotional problems. On the second view, however, it becomes clear that these privileges are only possible through extensive social restrictions, violence and abuse of power against persons, groups or societies.
Many industries as well as corporations that produce / promote the most important.