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Utopian and Dystopian Societies in Philosophy, Literature, Film, Music and Paintings


Step 3.1: Students learn the difference between Utopian and Dystopian societies. Then, they have to work out the characteristics of well known societal forms as they are depicted, e.g. in works such as:

  • Plato's Politeia (an example of a Utopian Society).
  • George Orwell's 1984 (an example of a Dystopian Society)

If you think that the term"Big Brother" is a newly coined expression, which sprang from the computer age, you are mistaken!. Discover with your teacher's |help the origin of this expression, study and share with your partners the story of Dystopian Societies and think of what a Dystopian society means to you.Can you think of any other literary works that depict similar forms of society? How about philosophical ideas or songs?
Plato's Politeia (The Republic), on the other hand, is an example of an Utopian Society. By the word "utopia", we mean an ideally perfect place, especially when thinking in terms of social, political and moral aspects.There are quite a few works related to Utopian ideas in literature such as Francis Bacon's New Atlantis (1627), Thomas More's Utopia (1516).In painting, a famous work presenting an ideal society is Paul Signac's In the Time of Harmony (1893).


As for films, Gattaca depicts what a dystopian society could be like!

If you want to get some ideas about the issues discussed in this Module, visit http://www.scoop.it​/t/utopia-dystopia. You can even make your own suggestions on what we should include in the topic of Utopia and Dystopia!

Use our forum in this module to share views concerning Dystopian and Utopian Societies.
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Post your views in the discussion forum clicking on the button at the top of this page.

Step 3.2: Working in groups, set by your teacher, you will have to work on one of the following assignments:



  • Present your partners with the background behind Utopian or Dystopian Societies. The tool you have to use is Storybird.
  • Comment on a painting depicting a Utopian or a Dystopian Society. (The tool you will have to use is Voicethread.You will need to create a free account.(Please visit our Instructions page to get an idea of how to use Voicethread)


(The picture was retrieved from Google images, http://ow.ly/k3i5Q)

Tips for you when commenting on this painting: Try to discover the details in the background, make sure you do mention how people spend time in "The Time of Harmony". Is there a balance between physical and mental exercise? Talk about the choice of colours. Paul Signac was an impressionist after all!




  • Create a video dealing with the concept of a Utopian or a Dystopian Society.(Use "UtellStory" for this purpose. You can get instructions for it on our Instructions page).

Post your work on this canvas! Just double click on it and paste the url of your Storybird or your UtellStory creation.




Step 3.3: Post your views about Module 3 in our On-line diary.

You need to have completed your work by March 20th.