1st Edition

Futures of the Human Subject Technical Mediation, Foucault and Science Fiction

By Sławomir Kozioł Copyright 2023
    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    Futures of the Human Subject focuses on the representation of the effects of technology use on human subjectivity in several recent near-future science fiction novels. Sharing the idea that human subjects are constructed in the world in which they exist, this volume inscribes itself in the wider field of posthumanism which contests the liberal humanist notion of people as self-contained, autonomous agents. At the same time, it is the first substantial study of literary representations of the human subject carried out within the conceptual framework of Foucault-inflected philosophy of technical mediation, which examines the nature of the relation between people and specific technologies as well as the way in which this relation affects human subjectivity. As such, the book may help readers to exercise more effective control over the way in which they are constituted as subjects in this technologically saturated world.


    Chapter 1. Technical Mediation, Subjectivity and Science Fiction

    Early philosophy of technology and utopia/dystopia syndrome

    Empirical turn

    Posthuman perspective

    Philosophy of technical mediation—key concepts

    Technical mediation and Foucault

    Modes of human–technology interaction

    Ethics of technology

    Science fiction

    Chapter 2. The Circle: Embracing Social Media and Personal Transparency

    Utopian vision of ICTs as subjectifying discourse

    Self-conception, social self and the internet as archive

    Subjectifying power of the algorithm

    Pressure for social media activity

    Gamification and the quantified self

    Surveillance and personal transparency

    Chapter 3. Rainbows End: New Vistas through Displays in Contacts

    New life after Alzheimer’s

    Materiality of discourse

    Wearing: the physical mode

    Cognitive enhancement

    Personal interaction and multitasking

    Belief circles and play

    Cognitive labour and control

    Chapter 4. Maddadam trilogy: Alleviating Existential Fears

    Life in the Compounds

    Ethical subjectification of God’s Gardeners

    Makover culture

    Producing patients

    Becoming Crake


    Works Cited


    Sławomir Kozioł is an assistant professor at the University of Rzeszów, Poland. His academic interests include science fiction, posthumanism, theories of the human subject, philosophy of technical mediation, social space and new-media art. He has published articles in Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, Extrapolation, Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies, Papers on Language and Literature and Science Fiction Studies, among others.

    "What can science fiction teach us about our constantly changing relationship with technology? At a time in which our views and assumptions are challenged by dazzling discoveries and inspiring innovations on a daily basis, this book combines literary criticism and philosophical insights to interpret the brave new world around us."

    Dr Detlef Wagenaar, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands