Examples of a Dystopian Society in Real Life


The word dystopia has Greek origins and is made up of two distinct words ‘dys’ and ‘utopia’ meaning bad or hard and place respectively. Dystopia can be simply defined as an imaginary place where the living state is unfavourable, oppressive, or bad. On the other hand, utopia is the opposite of dystopia and means a good place. Although the concept of a dystopian society is considered to be imaginary, there still have been a few events in the past, which were responsible to turn the properly functioning societies into dystopian societies. There are various elements that tend to turn an ordinary society into a dystopian society such as government control, loss of individualism, antagonist society, technological control, survival, and/or environmental destruction. The government control element means either an absence of government or the rule of an oppressive government. Environmental destruction means dismantling the settings and appearance of a place in such a way that it turns completely or partially uninhabitable. Survival corresponds to the state of people living in a dystopian society to fend for themselves. Likewise, the loss of individualism means the people living in such a society do not have much say in decisions and lack an individual identity. This tends to elevate the chances of conformity. In the current scenario, the element of technological control is considered to be one of the key elements that cause society to turn dystopian. In the case of dystopian societies, technological development is targeted toward establishing command and instilling fear. In other words, a dystopian society can be defined as a horrifying society with much human misery.

Types of Dystopia

On the basis of the type of element in action, dystopia can be broadly classified into four categories:

Bureaucratic control Dystopian Society

A dystopian society is said to be under bureaucratic control if the government in power of such a society tends to keep imposing unnecessary rules and regulations over and again on the general operations being carried out by the residents in the society.

corporate control Dystopian Society

As the name itself suggests, a dystopian society signifies a society that is under the control of a large and powerful corporate organization. The control in such a case is usually established via media or with the help of goods or products.

Philosophical and Religious control Dystopian Society

A philosophical or religious dystopian society typically makes use of the forced or manipulated enforcement of ideologies or views to control the people, operations, and total working of the society.

Technological Control Dystopian Society

The technological control dystopian society is considered to be one of the most dangerous types of dystopian societies in the present world. It typically makes use of technological developments to control people.

Examples of a Dystopian Society

1. Literature

A number of literature pieces demonstrate the working and presence of a dystopian society. This particular description of dystopian societies in literature can be given in the form of poems, novels, stories, articles, etc. A few examples of some of the novels that describe dystopian society include 1984 by George Orwell, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin, Animal Farm by George Orwell, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Feed by M.T. Anderson, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. The application of the concept of a dystopian society in literature or in writing novels helps the writer open up his/her imagination and improve skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, task categorisation, relation-building, work-life balancing, and many more. Also, such novels help the reader to open up their mindset, clear thoughts, gain perspective of the world from a completely different perspective, and support each other’s opinions.

2. Movies

Cinematography and movie making


Planet of the Apes V for Vendetta Wall-E District 9 The Fifth Element Mad Max Gattaca I, Robot The Matrix RoboCop


3. Games

Firefly The Walking Dead Doctor Who Black Mirror Aeon Flux

4. TV Shows

final Fantasy VI and VII Resident Evil series The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Warhammer 40,000 Deus Ex


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Lois Lowry’s The Giver: A society has eliminated pain in return for “Sameness,” but in so doing has also eliminated emotion, color, and personal individuality. A boy named Jonas receives memories of what the community was like before Sameness destroyed all of these things.

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George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm an example of dystopia Napoleon, the pig who attains complete power, convinces the other animals that they are better off without human rule, then forces them to work harder for less food.


George Orwell’s 1984 is one of the most famous examples of a dystopia in all of literature. The protagonist, Winston, becomes aware of the hypocrisy of the ruling Party, and fights to overthrow it. In this excerpt, he explains how the Party brainwashed the majority of working-class citizens, called Proles, to believe they’re better off now than before.


Indeed, political dystopia is often easier to see using the lens of fiction, which exaggerates behaviors, trends and patterns to make them more visible. But behind the fiction there is always a real-world correlate. Orwell had Stalin, Franco and Hitler very much in mind when writing “1984.” Atwood, whom literary critics call the “prophet of dystopia,” recently defined dystopia as when “[W]arlords and demagogues take over, some people forget that all people are people, enemies are created, vilified and dehumanized, minorities are persecuted, and human rights as such are shoved to the wall.” Some of this may be, as Atwood added, the “cusp of where we are living now.” But the U.S. is not a dystopia. It still has functioning democratic institutions. Many in the U.S. fight against dehumanization and persecution of minorities. Courts are adjudicating cases. Legislatures are passing bills. Congress has not adjourned, nor has the fundamental right of habeas corpus – the protection against illegal detention by the state – (yet) been suspended.

[Real Life]

The Man in the High Castle is a TV series

The series is based on the 1962 novel of the same name by American science fiction author Philip K. Dick. The story is an alternate history of the world in which the Axis powers won World War II. The United States and Canada has been partitioned into three parts – The Japanese puppet state of the Japanese Pacific States, which comprises the former United States west of the Rocky Mountains, a Nazi puppet state that comprises the eastern half of the former United States; and a Neutral Zone that acts as a buffer between the two areas, also referred to as the “Rocky Mountain States”.

Season One The Man in the High Castle explores what it would be like if the Allied Powers had lost WWII, and Japan and Germany ruled the United State. Starring Rufus Sewell (John Adams). Luke Kleintank (Pretty Little Liars) and Alexa Davalos (Mob City).  Season Two After giving Joe the film, Juliana is forced to flee the fury of the Resistance while embarking on a new path to save her home from destruction. Joe confronts his absent father in Berlin, who is not as he seems.

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