Utopia and Dystopia – Literature

Utopia and dystopia are genres of speculative fiction that explore the social and political structures of a story or text. Utopia comes from the Greek words ou which means “no” or “not”, and topos, which means “place”. Utopia is an imagined place in which everything is perfect. Others say it is fantasy and a paradise.

Dystopia, on the other hand, is also an imagined state where there is great suffering or injustice, an example of this is one is totalitarian and the other is post-apocalyptic.

Both utopia and dystopia share the characteristics of fantasy and science fiction. Both are also set in the future wherein technology has been used to create perfect living conditions.

Characteristics of Utopia

  • Peaceful government
  • Access to education, employment, healthcare, and so forth
  • Equality for citizens
  • A safe environment

Types of Utopian Ideas

Most of the utopian works present a world in which the common good of society is maintained through one or more of the following types of ideas or beliefs:

  • Governing Ideas: Society is being controlled by citizens in a communal, individualist, social, and libertarian government
  • Economic Ideas: Money is diminished. Citizens only do work in alignment with their interests and enjoyment. Government power is corrupt.
  • Ecological Ideas: Humans live peacefully with nature.
  • Technological Ideas: Technology is being embraced by humans to enhance their way of life. Sometimes technology is becoming evil to society.
  • Religious Ideas: Society believes in a common religious philosophy, some think that they are in the Garden of Eden. All ideas of God are welcome.

Characteristics of Dystopia

  • Poverty for everyone or a huge financial gap between the rich and the poor
  • Usually a controlling, oppressive government or no government at all
  • Freedom of speech and expression, to think and opinions are banned
  • Propaganda controlling people’s mind

Types of Dystopia

Oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are gone. This is the world that dystopia presents:

  • Technological Control: Society is being controlled by technology-through robots and computers.
  • Bureaucratic Control: Selfish bureaucracy is controlling the minds of the society through red tapes, incompetent government officials, and useless regulations.
  • Corporate Control: Society is being controlled through the products, media, and advertising of one or more large corporations.
  • Religious Control: Religious ideology controls society.

The big question is: Could a utopian or dystopian society ever exist in our world? These societies are much closer to reality than they appear. Could there be a resurgence in the dystopian genre if there is a distinction between a literary utopian or dystopian society?

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Leana Jan Candoleta

Leana was an administrative officer in a dialysis center. She has extensive experiences with all administrative tasks, including scheduling, information and billing. Having held positions in the medical and business field, leana is able to tailor her skills to meet the needs of various patients and clients. she has increased her efficiency in her skills and roles and became an effective employee in her company. As a senior Administrative Officer, she has helped the company earn millions when it comes to medical transactions. Leana graduated from West Visayas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Development Communication. After she graduated, she worked as an English Tutor in a Foreign School as her first job. She also served the community for a year and three months wherein she gained more experiences in her career record. She was also a holder of Civil Service License. During her college years, Leana was a member of Gawad Kalinga and Philippine League of Development Communication. After 5 years of working, she decided to shift to another career which is teaching. She took up the course Teacher Certificate Program in Phinma-University of Iloilo. She balanced work, school, social life and a mother. She did this to create a bigger future for herself and for her family. Leana is also a member of a non-government association in Iloilo City wherein her passions and hobbies can be shown off to other group members. Leana is a very passionate and goal-achiever person. She will do anything to be on top and be the best among the rest to reach for her better future. She is now waiting for the Licensure Examination for Teachers and hoping that she will pass it.