Discuss and Assess the Possible Gains from Globalisation
There are many aspects of globalisation which are generally divided into political, cultural and economic. Ulrich Beck discredits the word globalisation as the aspect of transnational movement which deals with issues primarily from an economic point of view. To him cosmopolitanism is the cultural and civil society aspects of what a lot of people refer to as globalisation (2006: 11). In an essay of this length it is impossible to cover all areas and so the focus within this one will be on the areas of Cosmopolitanism and Global Civil Society (GCS). These elements regard politics and culture, economic aspects will not be explored as in the current financial crisis the World Bank and International Monetary Fund would require a large amount of discussion by themselves. There is a plethora of discussion on the negatives of globalisation but a minimal amount of positivity. This essay will aim to highlight positive empirical examples of GCS and potential gain through cosmopolitan movements. Read More »
Due to being asked for my references by a few different people I thought I would post them up here so it’s all complete before I go travelling. It’s out of place on the blog I’m afraid but hopefully it will assist a few people who are researching the subject.
First is the general bibliography and then the specific numerical endnotes in order of chapter. Read More »
This dissertation will attempt to highlight varying prophecies of the future of reproduction and what this will mean to society. From the extremes of cloning to the commonplace In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) the moral implications will be explored and their fictional counterparts investigated. It is common knowledge that dystopian fictions, and often all speculative fiction, reflect the societal fears of the time of writing. Due to this the key texts used must be treated from different angles, the nineteen thirties’ Brave New World has had many of it’s ideas established within science and technology, however, Huoellebecq’s Possibility of an Island from year 2000 is yet to have had time for it’s ideas to materialise.
The first chapter focuses on Brave New World, a book synonymous with the ideas of IVF as well as many other revolutionary ideas. The underlying theme of this novel is humans as commodities and the loss of individuality, epitomised by the worship of Henry T Ford as the creator of mass production. Huxley’s background is quintessential to the success of his writing as he was integrated in the cultures of both science and literature, thus proving to give his work more integrity than many speculative authors at the time. Haldane was a scientist associate of Huxley and his predictions, considered extreme at the time, were essential for the creation of Brave New World. The key areas of research for this chapter are IVF, human conditioning, eugenics and government control. Most of the ideas from Brave New World have evolved in some form through history to present day, some positively and some in ways which cause unimaginable grief.
The second chapter addresses more technological matters of human reproduction in Huoellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island. Read More »
Aldous Huxley’s 1931 novel Brave New World features, what were at the time, ludicrous ideas of society and reproduction. In his 1958 commentary on the original text, Brave New World Revisited, Huxley was shocked at the speed in which some of his fictional ideologies had come into existence1. This chapter aims to explore Huxley’s numerous ideas regarding reproduction technologies, from sterilisation and contraception to the caste system and child conditioning. All of these topics have seen progress of some form in modern day society. This chapter will attempt to understand the impact of these events through the use of science and social commentary.
Critics have often commented on Huxley’s background to gain a broader perspective on his writing. Huxley was always integrated within the scientific social scene, wanting to be a scientist himself he was hindered by a disease which caused near blindness2. Huxley’s brother was a scientist and through him Aldous became a respected part of the ‘Science and Society’ movement. A culmination of this and Huxley’s father being a writer gave him an interesting mixture of information and talent which enabled him to write such scientifically predictive ideas.
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These are in effect, artificial or mechanical men, individuals without souls, without anything that, in a traditional understanding can be seen as distinctly human.
- Krishan Kumar1
Michel Huoellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island (which will be referred to as Possibility) touches on many ideas relating to the reproduction of the human self and its repercussions for mankind. With advances in technology this is something which is increasingly ever more in the public mind. It is impossible to say whether this modern day dystopia is predicting events which will be commonplace in the future, but there is scientific research speculating the potential problems. An important question in this chapter is how these technologies effect human identity, and essentially what element of human identity is the essence humanity.
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The novels The Handmaid’s Tale and The Children of Men (which will be referred to as Handmaid’s and Children, respectively) deal with a different aspect of dystopia than the other novels focussed on in this dissertation. The focus here is on the social implications and natural changes within reproduction. Perhaps the most prominent and common theme between the two is the reduction in fertility and possible reactions to it. Both texts link quite strongly to the desperation for motherhood but in very different ways.
Atwood’s 1985 political satire replicates the threats of AIDS and right wing politics present in America during the eighties. Alternatively PD James mirrors what could be called a liberal façade in an early nineties Britain with an undercurrent of violence which can be seen as reflective of the problems in Northern Ireland. By exploring these texts and all the surrounding research this chapter aims to find a common ground which will correlate the previous research on reproductive technologies and how it will realistically affect population and society.
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Because of the multitude of varying methods explored in this dissertation it is difficult to conclude decisively. One point which is paramount is that the advancing technology within reproduction will continue to accelerate into the future with unforeseeable consequences. With Brave New World being the oldest text it may be used as a benchmark for what truth could materialise from the other texts used. Could the ideas of human cloning in The Possibility of an Island become reality in eighty years time? It is not impossible to imagine this, especially as the initial cloning of pets described by Houellebecq is now reality.
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