Science Fiction Film & Television

Generating the self: The biopolitics of security and selfhood in Star Trek: The Next Generation

Science Fiction Film & Television (2011), 4, (2), 205–224.

Abstract

A biopolitical reading of Star Trek: The Next Generation (US 1987–94) asks us to investigate the production of identity by exploring the ways in which governance systems produce subjects within the framework of the multiplicity of bodies, the competition of states and the neo-liberal formation of the homo oeconomicus. This article examines biopolitical and security organisation in Star Trek and its reinforcement of contemporary neoliberal underpinnings by exploring subjectivity as the pursuit of self-improvement and entrepreneurship. Second, it investigates how biopolitical regulation produces a subject that actively resists intervention in order to ensure against despotism and the police state. The article concludes with an examination of specific instances of treaties in the series, that again produce neoliberal subjectivity. Together, the construction of the self as economic citizen and the deployment of security in the domestic and international realms emerge from a biopolitical analysis of The Next Generation read as allegory of present times.

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Cover, Rob