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The Ideology of the Capitalist Dystopia: A Marxist Analysis of William Gibson's Neuromancer
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay is a textual analysis of William Gibson's cyberpunk novel Neuromancer from a Marxist perspective. The analysis focuses on the commodification of humans, and ideology present in the setting, in order to discern the ideology of the text itself. The analysis of commodification is grounded in Marx' view, while the analysis of ideology utilises mainly Althusser's theories, and to a lesser extent Gramsci's. The analysis shows that humans are extensively commodified in order to become tools for the ruling class, that power in the setting resides in the hands of mega-corporations, and that nation states are insignificant. Governments act in the same manner as corporations, disregarding the needs of their peoples, and protecting the interests of the ruling class. Dissident organisations are repressed, in order to stop them from threatening the states and corporations.It is concluded that the ideology of the text itself is mainly concerned with the nature of being human, trying to distinguish commodified humans from very advanced machines, in a society where the line between the two become blurry. To be human, Neuromancer says, is to possess free will and illogical emotions, which machines cannot. However, the text also shows that free will is inevitably subverted to perpetuate the capitalist ideology; that free will under capitalism is merely an illusion. The only way to resist internalising the ideology is to lack free will, and act according to one's programming. Since humans and free artificial intelligences are unable to, any hope of abolishing the capitalist dystopia is futile, and at best one can achieve a partial retreat from it.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 26 p.
Keyword [en]
Social Behaviour Law
Keyword [sv]
Samhälls-, beteendevetenskap, juridik, Neuromancer, William Gibson, literature, science fiction, cyberpunk, Marxism, capitalism, commodification, ideology, Althusser
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-50254Local ID: 784bd5c0-cf1b-4393-98af-21662081e8e7OAI: diva2:1023611
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 15 credits
Educational program
English, bachelor's level
Validerat; 20120209 (anonymous)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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