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Huxley’s 'Brave New World' – and ours

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal for Cultural Research
Issue number2
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)153-172
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The article discusses the continuing relevance of Huxley's dystopic novel in a contemporary, post‐political context in which a passive nihilist version of “happiness” is elevated to the level of a political and ethical ideal and “freedom” is taken for granted. Significantly, although Huxley's target was Stalinism when he wrote the novel, revisiting Brave New World forces one to reflect on contemporary, “democratic” versions of totalitarianism as well. And yet Huxley himself did not follow the political and ethical consequences of his critique. The article seeks to map these consequences by rethinking the maxims of the brave new world in relation to three main themes: biopolitics, nihilism and network society. Indeed, seen through this conceptual prism, there is a remarkable homology between Huxley's Brave New World and our world.