Dr Paolo Gerbaudo discusses the use of social media by political activists, including those involved in the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. He also examines the ways in which social media can be used by the state as a tool of repression.
Christopher Patrick Nolan, Richard Bremmer, Hara Yannas, Tim Dutton and Mark Arends in 1984. Photo: Tristram Kenton.
Ideology shapes the way that we think and behave as members of society. An ideology is a set of conscious and unconscious ideas and beliefs that a group of people hold about the way that the world works. These ideas shape their sense of what is right and wrong. They shape their sense of what is normal and abnormal behaviour. They define their ambitions and their goals. At a deeper level, they shape their sense of reality.
Gavin Spokes, Christopher Patrick Nolan, Hara Yannas, Mark Arends, Tim Dutton, Stephen Fewell, Mandi Symonds and Matthew Spencer in 1984. Photo: Tristram Kenton.
Language is more than simply words. It shapes the way we think. In the appendix to 1984, Orwell tells us that Newspeak is a language deliberately designed to limit the range of people’s thoughts and to make certain ideas unthinkable. It can be argued, however, that all languages, like Newspeak, limit the range of ideas that it is possible for people to understand.
Dr Btihaj Ajana discusses the importance of privacy in contemporary society and how digital technologies are changing our understanding of what privacy is.
Prof Alex Callinicos reveals how Orwell's politics and the world in which he lived shaped his vision of 1984.
Dr Btihaj Ajana discusses surveillance in contemporary society and its relationship to the image of the surveillance state imagined by George Orwell in 1984.
George Orwell's Burmese Passport Photograph
Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
In his 1641 book, Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes starts by considering the nature of reality. How do we know, he asks himself, that the world around us actually exists and is not just a projection of our minds?
Stephen Campbell Moore as Joe and Claudie Blakley as Tess in Chimerica. Photo: Johan Persson.
In the summer of 2001, I was living in a factory, in a village, in central China. I was in the middle of a two-year stint of fieldwork for my PhD.
It was hot. So hot in fact, that the factory’s furnaces blazed only during the night, for fear that workers would succumb in the day. Most nights, I lay awake into the small hours, sweating, my senses overloaded by the clangs and flashes from the factory courtyard.
One morning, I was roused by one of the labourers. He announced that a VIP, Mr. Liu, had driven from the city during the night to collect me. Mr. Liu was a senior regional official who had taken me under his wing. I knew him well and we had become close. In fact, he had taken me out on many trips before, though never perhaps with quite this sense of urgency. I got dressed, washed the sweat out of my eyes with a bottle of drinking water, and went to the factory gates to meet him.
He looked at my dishevelled frame disapprovingly, then thought better of his critique and smiled: “We are going to do some business. We will eat with some friends.” I knew well what this meant. His driver beckoned me into his shining black car, and off we drove down uneven roads through the pinks and oranges of dawn, to a remote part of the province.
Nancy Crane and Sean Gilder in Chimerica. Photo: John Persson.
Find out more about the ficitional and the not-so-ficitional people that feature in Chimerica.