Political speech in fantastical worlds
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-09, 05:21 authored by Paul Kirby
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.
- Accepted version
JournalInternational Studies Review
Department affiliated with
- International Relations Publications
NotesThis is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Kirby, Paul (2017) Political speech in fantastical worlds. International Studies Review, 19 (4). pp. 573-596. ISSN 1521-9488, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1093/isr/vix012. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
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