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Political speech in fantastical worlds

Kirby, Paul (2017) Political speech in fantastical worlds. International Studies Review, 19 (4). 573 - 596. ISSN 1521-9488

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Identification Number: 10.1093/isr/vix012


This article concerns the relationship of politics to speculative and fantastical fiction. Surveying work on aesthetics, media analysis, and science fiction (SF) in the discipline, it also seeks to disjoint some common understandings of how politics is found in cultural artifacts by showing that much IR analysis of SF has opted for a reductionist reliance on analogical readings. To do so, the article first sets out the status of the SF genre, and related fields such as fantasy. The case is here presented with greater ambition than is usually the case, paying particular attention to utopia, and arguing for a view of SF as part hinterland of political theory. In the second part, the underlying rationale for pop cultural analysis is revisited, and some standard motifs in the study of SF recapitulated, the better to revise critical common sense. Having expanded the field of inquiry, a third section demonstrates the limits of analogical analysis as currently practiced. The article then elaborates and defends a new distinction between programmatic and expressive sensibilities in SF to revive the case for a more ambivalent and open reading of SF. Having mapped the current limits of pop-cultural IR, and offered a somewhat different cartography, a final section draws out some implications for methods and future discussion.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author
Divisions: IGA: Centre for Women Peace and Security
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2019 11:39
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 04:27

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