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Title: Apocalypse, technoscience, empire : a comparative approach to late-nineteenth and late-twentieth-century popular narratives of the end
Author: Mousoutzanis, Aristeidis.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3428 1021
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis is an investigation of the plausibility of a comparative approach to the apocalyptic culture of the last two centuries' ends, thus following and extending a critical trend to compare centuries' ends that emerged in the Humanities during the 1990s. Most of these critical approaches, however, are predominantly descriptive accounts of similarities between the two periods under consideration. Instead, this thesis argues for the need of a more analytic approach, one that will situate any similarities within a specific argument that will account for the usefulness of such a theoretical attempt in the first place. From this perspective, a comparative investigation of the last two centuries' ends is productive insofar as it demonstrates the ways in which contemporary discourses of science, technology, and empire got entangled with each other. Resting on the founding argument that apocalyptic fears tend to emerge in periods of transition, the thesis demonstrates that the apocalyptic culture of the two periods may be compared insofar as these two periods were moments to witness major transitions in areas of scientific and technological discovery (the 'Second Industrial Revolution' and the 'Information Revolution', respectively) as well as in modes of imperial control (the 'New Imperialism', on the one hand, and globalisation, on the other). The study thus investigates the ways in which the apocalyptic narratives of the 1890s and the 1990s demonstrate shifts in the relations among modern discourses of power and know ledge. The last two centuries' ends emerge as two cultural moments to witness crucial transformations in major discourses of the project of modernity and the comparative approach to these two periods reveals the ways in which modern power developed towards more sophisticated and internalised forms from the one period to the other.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available