Popular imagination and identity politics: Reading the future in Star Trek: The next generation

Brian L. Ott, Eric Aoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Through an analysis of the popular syndicated television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, this essay begins to theorize the relationship between collective visions of the future and the identity politics of the present. Focusing on the tension between the show's Utopian rhetoric of the future and its representational practices with regard to race, gender, and sexuality, it is argued that The Next Generation invites audiences to participate in a shared sense of the future that constrains human agency and (re)produces the current cultural hegemony with regard to identity politics. The closing section calls for critics to continue politicizing mediated images that appeal to popular imagination and to develop and implement a pedagogical practice of counter-imagination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-415
Number of pages24
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Volume65
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001

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