Where No European Has Gone before: Representations of Europe (an integration) in Science Fiction

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Carnegie Room (University of Glasgow)
Harald Köpping Athanasopoulos , EU-Asia Institute, ESSCA
This paper reviews the role of Europe in science fiction. While there is a limited amount of academic literature on the role of the United States and the Soviet Union in science fiction, a similar review for Europe is hitherto absent. A survey of science fiction literature, films and comic books was carried out to identify how Europe and European integration are portrayed in each of these three forms of science fiction, finding that the number of references to European integration in particular is very low. The majority of references in science fiction to Europe or European integration are dystopian. Four dystopian themes characterise these references: authoritarianism, conspiracies, environmental disaster and normative disorientation. Nevertheless, there is a small number of utopian references which are primarily found within science fiction that is set in space. This accentuates the role that the popularisation of space can play in fostering the European integration process.
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