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Biopunk Dystopias Genetic Engineering, Society and Science Fiction$
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Lars Schmeink

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781781383766

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781383766.001.0001

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Dystopia, Science Fiction, Posthumanism, and Liquid Modernity

Dystopia, Science Fiction, Posthumanism, and Liquid Modernity

(p.18) 2 Dystopia, Science Fiction, Posthumanism, and Liquid Modernity
Biopunk Dystopias Genetic Engineering, Society and Science Fiction

Lars Schmeink

Liverpool University Press

Chapter 2 provides an inventory of the theoretical strains pertinent to the discussion and elaborates the concepts introduced. Starting from the premise of science fiction as a cultural mode that is ideally suited to negotiate technoscience and its influence of socio-political structures, the chapter introduces and defines the cultural formation of 'biopunk' from its pre-cursor cyberpunk. Then, biopunk will be situated as a creative intervention into posthuman discourses by elaborating the origin and use of the 'posthuman,' anchoring it in discussions differentiating between transhumanism and critical posthumanism as two oppositional theoretical positions. Further, the chapter establishes the sociological frame, positing contemporary society as formed by 'liquid modernity.' The chapter elaborates the dissolution of social institutions and the shifting of focus from public debate onto private life-choices, the global dimension of current political issues and, in contrast, the individualization of solutions to those issues. Liquid modernity, as critical dystopian present, consequently demands to be understood as warning about current tendencies in society, as criticism and even more importantly as an education of society in regards to its own needs and desires. In reviewing the utopian imagination, the chapter concludes the theoretical frame, in which to read contemporary biopunk culture.

Keywords:   Liquid modernity, Science fiction, Globalization, Individualization, Biopunk, Posthumanism, Dystopia

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