Library wars: Discourse, power and Dystopian Young Adult Literature from the East and West

Ma, Lan (2022) Library wars: Discourse, power and Dystopian Young Adult Literature from the East and West. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In the last twenty years, much of the excitement over the rapid development of technology has faded away as it has not provided all the answers to social problems. On the contrary, some problems have become more acute through the use of new technologies, such as the subjugation and monitoring of citizens, a phenomenon this thesis examines in a sample of the many dystopian works written for young adults which have emerged in both the West and the East in the last two decades. These works reveal authors’ thoughts about the power structure of human society; their concerns and ideas about the past and present and their expectations about the future of the world.

This thesis is based on a comparative analysis of the contemporary Western and Eastern Dystopian Young Adult Literature (DYAL) from a sociological perspective. The focus will be on issues of information control and censorship in DYAL, because knowledge is one of the main bones of power contention in a dystopian prospect. Based on the theories of sociology of literature and Michel Foucault’s theory about discourse and power and a historical review of the development of YAL in the East and West, this research attempts to structure the spatiotemporal attributes of DYAL, and expound the circulated, exchanged and interactive relationship between (D)YAL and society. From this structure, more importantly, a discourse-power mapping framework for analysing dystopian literature has been developed.

Although there have been numerous studies on the Western DYAL, comparative research on the Western and Eastern DYAL has been scarce. Hence, three representative dystopian YA works from USA (The Great Library series, Rachel Caine, 2015), Japan (Library Wars series, Hiro Arikawa, 2006) and China (Infernal Affairs, Sizhe Zangyi, 2014) were selected to be analysed with the framework in order to discuss the discourse-power relationship; the political ideas and social concerns shown in works from different cultural backgrounds. Furthermore, the results of the qualitative research on the Western and Eastern reader groups’ discussions have been included in the comparative analysis of the works. This sheds light on both authors’ and readers’ thoughts about discourse-power structure and the future prospect of human society inside and outside DYAL.

This thesis aims to demonstrate the sociological issues around DYAL from a different theoretical scope. The study may provide an effective framework for the researchers in this field and could be applicable to further educational conversations. Hence, this research has realistic and practical importance not only for scholars and educators in YA literature, but also for the sociologists who are interested in youth culture in the digital era.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Arizpe, Dr. Evelyn and Davis, Dr. Bob
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-82656
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2022 17:06
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 16:55
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82656

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