The Fourth World and Politics of Social Identity in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy

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By Ali Salami, Fatemeh Bornaki, & Maryam Masoomi

With the advent of the 21st century, the way characters and identities interact under the influence of dominant powers has brought a new world into existence, a world dubbed by Manuel Castells as the ‘Fourth World’. Within the Castellsian theoretical matrix of the Fourth World and politics of identity, the present study seeks to investigate the true nature of the futuristic world Margaret Atwood has created in the MaddAddam trilogy. The trilogy literarily reflects a global crisis that ultimately leads to dystopia and the destruction of the human race: what remains of humanity is a small group of survivors who must struggle to conserve what remains of humanity. Identity as the main determining factor in the Fourth World represents personal and public privileges, characteristics, and means of differentiating oneself from others. The Fourth World and its political peculiarities reflect contemporary powers, i.e. the power of the network society, network communication and media. Humankind, in this wheel, is just a toy in the hands of an intelligence broker. What exactly happens to human and semi-human characters in Atwood’s trilogy is the result of Fourth World structures and values, and how they shape and reconstruct identities to lead the world toward fabricated truths and values, and terminate in dystopia.

Keywords: Fourth World: Identity Manipulation: Information Age: Media: Network Society: Power


The Fourth World and Politics of Social Identity in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy

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