From Isolationism to Globalism: An Overview of Politics and Ethics in the Hollywood Science Fiction Film

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter considers the way in which the Hollywood science fiction film addresses America's relationship to the world and looks at how the genre can be understood as raising ethical questions concerning US foreign policy, security, international relations, economics and the environment. The chapter's approach is best described as an analytical and historical overview, tracing the development of the Hollywood science fiction film from the 1930s though to present day in relation to the issues raised above. By concentrating upon specific iconography, narrative, and characters, my analysis examines how changes in meaning and representational shifts are informed by broader socio-scientific, economic and political contexts. Aside from drawing upon studies in film genre, I make reference to political, economic, law, and social science studies, as well as popular science publications and the transcripts of several presidential speeches. This interdisciplinary research method was employed in order to enrich and expand our current understanding of this important film genre. Although I am not pretending that my analysis is in any way exhaustive, I aim to provide a useable framework and foundation for future studies that seek to understand the significance of the Hollywood science fiction film.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScience Fiction, Ethics, and the Human Condition
EditorsChristian Baron, Christine Cornea, Peter Nicolai Halvorsen
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-56577-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-56575-0
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Science fiction
  • nuclear holocaust
  • environmentalism
  • foreign policy
  • national security
  • international relations
  • economics
  • globalisation

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