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After Work: Anticipatory Knowledge on Post-Scarcity Futures in John Barnes’s Thousand Cultures Tetralogy
Linköping University, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, Culture, Society and Media Production - KSM. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2018 (English)In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 10, no 2, p. 246-262Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

What would happen if we could create societies with an abundance of goods and services created by cutting-edge technology, making manual wage labour unnecessary – what has been labelled societies with a post-scarcity economy. What are the pros and cons of such a future? Several science fiction novels and films have discussed these questions in recent decades, and have examined them in the socio-political, cultural, economic, scientific and environmental contexts of globalization, migration, nationalism, automation, robotization, the development of nanotechnology, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence and global warming. In the first section of this article, I introduce methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives connected to Critical Future Studies and science fiction as anticipatory knowledge. In the second and third section, I introduce the question of the value of work by discussing some examples from speculative fiction. In section four to seven, I analyze the Thousand Culture tetralogy (1992–2006), written by science fiction author John Barnes. The Thousand Cultures tetralogy is set in the 29th century, in a post-scarcity world. It highlights the question of work and leisure, and the values of each, and discusses these through the various societies depicted in the novels. What are the possible risks with societies where work is voluntary?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018. Vol. 10, no 2, p. 246-262
Keywords [en]
post-scarcity, work, utopia, dystopia, critical future studies
National Category
Cultural Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-152449DOI: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.2018102246OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-152449DiVA, id: diva2:1260059
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Critical Future StudiesAvailable from: 2018-11-01 Created: 2018-11-01 Last updated: 2019-03-21Bibliographically approved

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Godhe, Michael

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • vancouver
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More styles
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