Posthuman Anxiety: The Fear of the Loss of Humanity

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Posthuman Anxiety: The Fear of the Loss of Humanity

Title: Posthuman Anxiety: The Fear of the Loss of Humanity
Author: de Jong, Leonie
Issue Date: 2017-08-31
Keywords: Posthuman
Ghost in the Shell
Philip K. Dick
Francis Fukuyama
Digital Game
Abstract: This research incorporates my analyses, based on close-readings, of cultural representations of the posthuman, each of which embodies different anxieties and power-relations. I depart from the assumption that there are three dominant anxieties represented here: the fear of disembodiment; the fear of a loss of human uniqueness; and a fear of totalitarian control in relation to technology’s dehumanizing potential. By close-reading Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell (1995) I address issues concerning the representation of the female cyborg as disembodied. Philip K. Dick’s Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and the novel’s adaptation into Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner (1982) are analysed as challenging ideas about human nature and human uniqueness as based on more affective notions such as empathy. The analysis of the game We Happy Few (Compulsion Games, 2016) focuses on how the game thematises concerns about the dehumanizing potential of technologies in relation to notions of control and state-regulation. The aim of this research is to achieve a better understanding of the social and economic influences that shape different representations of humans and posthumans, and to demonstrate how definitions of what it means to be human are produced and represented in order to conceal their inherent fabricated, artificial character. I will demonstrate that fears and anxieties surrounding potential dystopic outcomes of human enhancement are all informed by (a fear of the loss of) power and control, and ideas of inequality and potential social disruption already present in society today.
Supervisor: Hoving, I.Kasten, M.J.A.
Faculty: Faculty of HumanitiesResearch master thesis
Department: Literary Studies (Research master)
ECTS Credits: 25

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