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An Analysis of Francis Fukuyama´s Arguments Exemplified on Contemporary Dystopian Cultural Production
Thesis title in Czech: Analýza argumentů Francise Fukuyamy ilustrovaná na současné dystopické kulturní produkci
Thesis title in English: An Analysis of Francis Fukuyama´s Arguments Exemplified on Contemporary Dystopian Cultural Production
Key words: Fukuyama, Hegel, dějiny, posthumanismus, dystopie, lidská přirozenost
English key words: Fukuyama, Hegel, history, posthumanism, dystopia, human nature
Academic year of topic announcement: 2013/2014
Type of assignment: diploma thesis
Thesis language: angličtina
Department: Department of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures (21-UALK)
Supervisor: Mgr. Pavla Veselá, Ph.D.
Author: hidden - assigned and confirmed by the Study Dept.
Date of registration: 30.06.2014
Date of assignment: 30.06.2014
Administrator approval: zatím neschvalováno
Confirmed by Study dept. on: 01.10.2014
Date and time of defence: 01.02.2017 09:00
Date of electronic submission:06.08.2016
Date of proceeded defence: 01.02.2017
Submitted/finalized: committed by student and finalized
Reviewers: doc. Erik Sherman Roraback, D.Phil.
In his book The End of History and the Last Man, published in 1992, Francis Fukuyama famously declared the end of history in the Hegelian sense. Fukuyama used Hegel´s understanding of history as a dialectical process of the development of human nature, manifested in particular forms of society, and concluded that this process will naturally reach its positive end in liberal democracy. This is because liberal democracy, according to Fukuyama, best meets the needs of human nature as he understands it.
In 2002 Fukuyama wrote a book Our Posthuman Future, in which he returns to the discussion of human nature, claiming that although it is still true that, as it is, it leads necessarily to liberal democracy, the very concept of ´human nature´ has become a rather unstable notion in the contemporary world of advanced medicine, biotechnology, molecular science and biological weapons. Drawing examples from Huxley´s Brave New World Fukuyama claims that if human biological nature were to be genetically or otherwise altered, it may lead to a society that is very different, and worse, than liberal democracy. In Huxley´s famous dystopian novel, people´s emotions are constantly controlled by drugs inducing happiness called Feelies and even the abilities and intellectual levels of the people are modified before their birth so that they fit into a pre-determined ´caste´ of workers during their lives. This society can be called totalitarian because it does not allow for a real freedom for the citizens, due to the biotechnological control they are enslaved to.
Contemporary dystopian literary production seems to illustrate Fukuyama´s idea that the manipulation with the structure of human nature may become the cause of a dystopian society, rather than the political structure of the society itself. As a result, the second half of the 20th century has seen a rise of environmental, biotechnological and cyberpunk dystopias in which the totalitarian state is not the cause of the dystopia, as in Orwell´s case, but rather the logical conclusion of what started as a modification of what is commonly associated with how we perceive a human being, as in Huxley´s.
I would thus like to examine Fukuyama´s discussion of how a biotechnologically altered human nature can be seen to lead to a society that is rather dystopian in comparison with liberal democracy. I have chosen two novels and one film on which I would like to examine the applicability of Fukuyama´s argument. All three of them share the initial moment, relatable to Fukuyama´s theory, where an intrusion (man-made or not) to human nature makes for a society much bleaker than ours. Although all three works share this basic plot, some of them may stand in a dialectical opposition to Fukuyama, which should be interesting to examine. The titles are Children of Men by P.D. James, a novel in which a totalitarian regime seems to have been caused by a sudden, mysterious loss of the human ability to bear children; Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, a novel in which the magnificent invention of cloning seems to have led to a hegemonically stratified society; and Perfect Sense, a film directed by David Mackenzie, which rather optimistically portrays human nature in the face of a global biological apocalypse, as people start losing one sense after another.
What should transpire through this examination is the extent to which Fukuyama´s cultural theory is applicable the corresponding cultural production of his own era, which, according to the initial definition, should be able to serve Fukuyama as examples of his theory. This should show both the validity and possible limitations of his own reasoning as well as the internal consistency of the chosen texts, as the arguments of Fukuyama will be applied to them and vice versa. Also, besides Fukuyama’s theory, other views on technology and human nature will be considered, including those of Donna Haraway, David Wills, and others, in order to create a dialectical web of argumentation, based on which a comprehensive analysis can be carried out. A by-product of my thesis should be a new perspective on the notion of dystopia itself, for in the aforementioned titles its causes, contours and prospects transcend the traditional Orwellian boundaries of an exclusively political problem.
Primary Sources:
Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. London: Faber, 2010
James, P.D. Children of Men. London: Faber and Faber, 2006
Mackenzie, David. Perfect Sense. BBC Films, 2001

Secondary Sources:
Barber, Benjamin. Jihad vs. McWorld. New York: Ballantime Books, 1995
Fukuyama Francis. Our Posthuman Future. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux., 2002
Fukuyama Francis. The End of History and the Last Man. New York: Free Press, 2006
Huntington P. Samuel. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011
Hayles, Katherine. How We Became Posthuman. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1999.
Haraway, Donna. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991.
Hegel, G.W.F. Phenomenology of Spirit. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976
Moylan, Tom., Baccolini Raffaella. Dark Horizons and the Dystopian Imagination. New York: Routledge, 2003
Mumford, Lewis. Technics and Civilization. London: Routledge, 1955.
Wolfe, Cary. What is Posthumanism? Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2009.
Wills, David. Dorsality: Thinking Back through Technology and Politics. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2008.
Weinstone, Ann. Avatar Bodies. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.
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