Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Beyond Utopia: New politics, the politics of knowledge and the science fictional field of Japan

This project aims to uncover a series of sites of difference and innovation. In particular, it locates itself in two kinds of distancing: geo-cultural (ie. in the non-European space of Japan) and medial (ie. in innovative expressive media).

Duration
2010  -   2014
Funding
NWO NWO

Recognizing that, since the end of the Cold War, political theorists around the world have embarked upon a deliberate quest for difference and innovation in their discipline, triggered by the apparently ?world historic? victory of liberal capitalism, this project aims to uncover a series of sites of difference and innovation. In particular, it locates itself in two kinds of distancing: geo-cultural (ie. in the non-European space of Japan) and medial (ie. in innovative expressive media). Utilizing the 'techno-media' of anime, manga and videogames, and focusing on the radical potentials of the genre of speculative science fiction, this project aims to analyze and model a series of political visions as potential alternatives to liberal capitalism, hence contributing to the field of political thought.

Furthermore, acknowledging that these widely popular techno-medial products utilize different grammars of expression from conventional, text-based media, this project seeks to formulate a research methodology for scholars to employ for critical interventions into these fields. Accepting that the dimensions of the public sphere change with time and technological developments, and hypothesizing that the public sphere in many contemporary societies is now informed by this techno-politics, at stake is the ability of scholars to remain in touch with (and persuasive in) political realities: new forms of literacy are required if scholars seek to remain involved in the new public sphere. This project attempts to outline those forms of literacy, as implied by the rapidly globalizing force of Japanese anime, manga and videogames.