Social and Virtual Space: Science Fiction, Transnationalism, and the American New Right

Social and Virtual Space: Science Fiction, Transnationalism, and the American New Right

Social and Virtual Space: Science Fiction, Transnationalism, and the American New Right

Social and Virtual Space: Science Fiction, Transnationalism, and the American New Right

Synopsis

Social and Virtual Space is a material and semiotic study of transnationalism, analyzed in terms of race, class, gender, and sexuality. The objects of analysis range from the aftermath of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, to science fiction by Pat Cadigan, C. J. Cherryh, and Samuel Delany, to material-semiotic feminist theory by Donna Haraway, and to the neo-Marxist historical geography of Mike Davis and David Harvey.

The book is centrally concerned with the social and cultural change brought about in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries by the rise of the new social movements in the United States. Chernaik analyzes both activists' movement-based speeches and writings, and more academic work informed by the women's movements and by the lesbian, gay, queer, and transgendered movements, showing how new forms of community enabled new ways of thought. She argues that the rise of the American new right, both the Christian right and the foreign policy-centered neoconservatism, was a backlash against these historical changes. Ethical and political concerns are central to Chernaik's argument, which is framed in terms of Emmanuel Levinas's notion of radical, non-reciprocal responsibility. Levinas's notion of responsibility is a culture-specific one, the responsibility of the oldest child, 'I before all others'.

The ethical relation Levinas argues for is used in the discussion of science fiction novels by Pat Cadigan, C. J. Cherryls, and Samuel Delany. Chernaik argues that literature can show the conplicated relations between the different factors that interact to produce change in a way that can be helpful for historical analysis.

The middle chapters of Social and Vertical Space turn to a detailed historical and theoretical analysis of transnational accumulation and its relation to technoscience. Chernaik examines the historical geography of Mike Davis and David Harvey. She shows that the historical geographers, drawing on the Regulation School in economics, give us the best analaysis of . . .

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