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Depersonalization and Derealization: Responses to Industrialization in The Matrix and Terminator Series.

Johnny Cross

Copyright 2011 by Johnny Cross

Published at Smashwords


Depersonalization and Derealization: Responses to Industrialization in The Matrix and Terminator Series.


As a society becomes more industrialized there is usually a shift of focus from personal individuality to a group mentality. Film as a cultural medium represents this change from a great variety of viewpoints, ranging from the extremely positive to the incredibly negative. Understanding these reactions to industrialization is a crucial part of deconstructing the complex themes of depersonalization and derealization present in science fiction cinema.

Throughout recorded human history, the economy of a given group has been based on one of three major types – agricultural, industrial or post-industrial. The simplest of these was the agricultural economy, which allowed an individual a type of independence that is nearly impossible in other modes of societal organization. As the production of agriculture became more efficient, however, a division of labor occurred and the emphasis on and expansion of mechanized production would pave the way for a transition into industrialization (Kimmel & Aronson 419-21).

In Europe, the discovery of North America marked a distinct change in the traditional feudal society. As trade routes opened and new resources were discovered, the influx of new business opportunities often took the form of new products that could be created. This created a strong demand for manufacturing, which in turn swiftly transformed the respective societies into ones based heavily on the production industry. These newly created jobs also were dependent on a new organization, in which “The manufacturing system took its place. The guildmasters were pushed on one side by the manufacturing middle class; division of labor between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of labor in each single workshop” (Marx & Engels 59). This change was the first step in the later shift from a pre-industrial society to an industrial one, which in turn led to the current post-industrial state.

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