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Paradoxes of Protection: Surveillance and Dystopia in Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay starts from the observation that the society we live in can be considered a surveillance society. The illusion of privacy has been shattering more and more, with the events of September 11 2001 serving to speed up the process. The essay approaches this issue of surveillance through a discussion of Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother (2008), looking at how constant surveillance can affect the people it is supposed to protect, and how it works in favor of the government or not. In the novel, a terrorist attack on San Francisco leads to surveillance being taken several steps further than it has in the real world. In the essay I analyze how the characters in it react to this intrusion of privacy, and how ultimately one person can make a difference by standing up for his beliefs. Drawing on the work of scholars of dystopia such as Jameson, Baccolini, and Moylan, as well as scholars of surveillance such as Lyon, it explores the dystopian setting in the novel as well as the real world. With the events of Little Brother in mind the parallel to 9/11 is drawn, and the actions following that attack such as the PATRIOT act, and the copious amount of surveillance spearheaded by the NSA, are compared to those taken in the novel, revealing a possible scenario in which the world is quite different. Through this comparison the essay attempts to serve as a cautious warning of a near future where privacy is but a dream.

Keywords: surveillance; dystopia; 9/11; paradox of protection; care vs. control; privacy

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Surveillance; dystopia; 9/11; paradox of protection; care vs. control; privacy
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100357OAI: diva2:692734
Available from: 2014-09-29 Created: 2014-01-31 Last updated: 2014-09-29Bibliographically approved

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