Teknofili, teknologiske trusler og tid - En tematisk analyse av TV-serien Years and Years
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In a world saturated with ever-evolving technology art forms such as TV-series can help us process and reflect on what is going on around us and give us insight into possible future developments with regards to technology. This thesis explores these themes by doing a treatment of the British dystopian TV-series Years and Years (2019) which depicts how a middle class family in Manchester experiences societal and technological changes from 2019 to 2035. Within the framework of research on contemporary complex TV series (Dunleavy, 2017; Mittell, 2015), this thesis undertakes an in-depth, chronological close reading of all six episodes of Years and Years where, among other things, dialogue, intertextuality, semiotics, subtext and audiovisual presentation are analyzed to see how the various technological themes emerges. As a done-in-one narrative unit created and written by a single author the miniseries Years and Years has several similarities with novels, so this thesis also draws on research about dystopian literature such as The Palgrave handbook of utopian and dystopian literatures (Marks et al., 2022) and Dystopia: A natural history (Claeys, 2016). The main research question in this thesis is:How does the dystopian mini-series Years and Years use the TV-series format to tell us about contemporary technology use and development?Subordinate research questions are: How can dystopias help to warn and socialize us? What future expectations or concerns are expressed through the series?The main focus in the analysis of the series is on how the various technological themes are expressed through the characters. The method used in this thesis is thematic analysis where one identifies, analyzes and reports themes or patterns in a set of data (Braun & Clarke, 2006). As Johannessen et al. (2018) point out, thematic analysis is basically theoretically independent and elements from other theoretical methods can be used in such an analysis, which this thesis does along the way. The broad scope of Years and Years requires the flexibility inherent in a thematic analysis. One of the main findings in the thesis is that dystopian fiction such as Years and Years primarily functions as a social commentary on the society and time in which it is created. The inclinations of the screenwriter or auteur of the miniseries also shines through, so knowledge about their previous work and background gives us valuable intertextual context, but despite this compelling and relatable characters is the most important aspect of a complex TV-series like this. By engaging with characters in a fictional world very similar to their own the audience can be stimulated to reflect on and discuss current and potential future technologies with people in their own lives. Through the characters Years and Years explores themes like technophilia and transhumanism through a LGBTQ-lens and how technology can be a threat both to the workforce and by undermining our trust to each other and to society's institutions by surveillance and media manipulations. In this way complex TV-series like Years and year can function as more than just fleeting entertainment by warning us about a potential future and simultaneously urging us to actively reflect on our daily use of technology.