ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Science Fiction and Culture

Updated on June 14, 2015


The science fiction-genre is a popular genre in Western art.* Science fiction stories involve, to a certain extent, an escape from the current day world. Because of this, it stands in the tradition of the nineteenth century current of Romanticism. One of the sources of inspiration of this genre is the work of the French author Jules Verne.

Artistic products, belonging to this current contain some ideas and images that are interesting from the viewpoint of cultural analysis. In the following I would like to discuss some of these ideas, applying them to aspects of our culture.

Cultural diversity

Characters in science fiction stories often travel between different planets. The world in science fiction stories is not a unity, but consists of multiple disconnected sub-worlds - planets or universa.
We could interpret this as an allegory for the cultural diversity around us. We don't live in a single, monolithical culture, but, rather, in a world of many different cultures and sub-cultures. Travelling between different cultures or having contact with people from different cultures sometimes feels like travelling between different planets.
We could say that the most important division line between cultures is language. But we could also say that every culture reflects a different order - between people, language and material things.

Organisations in modern society

People in science fiction stories often live and work together in spaceships. We could see this as an allegory for the way in which organisations operate in modern society. Premodern societies in Europe often had a big amount of internal cohesion. The organisations, active in society, could be seen as organical parts of a body.
The situation nowadays is different. The many organisations of modern societies can't be seen anymore as interconnected parts of one body. They should rather be seen as entities that are to a great extent disconnected and each operate according to their own goals and internal rules.
Organisations in modern society can, to a certain extent, be compared with the spaceships of science fiction stories. They each operate (travel along) on the basis of internally formulated goals and have their own personnel.
The detached character of organisations in modern society is being reflected in the work of the American sociologist Talcott Parsons, who studied in Europe a part of his career. Parsons sketched organisations as detached units, guided by internally formulated rules and goals.


The science fiction genre deserves attention from the viewpoint of cultural analysis, because it symbolises certain aspects of life in general and, more specific, modern society.
We can learn from this genre that there are fundamental (cultural) differences in our world. Like postmodernist thought it is critical about the existence of overarching structures and ideologies. With its image of the spaceship as the place where people work and live it picks up a theme, that has been discussed within Sociology, namely the fragmented character of modern society.

* See for example the movie The Fifth Element or the French comic series Valerian & Laureline.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)