The IUP Journal of English Studies
Exploring the Surveillance Culture: A Study of the Social Media Syndrome of the Present Day with Special Reference to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four

Article Details
Pub. Date : March, 2022
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES070322
Author Name :Md Sarfaraj Nawab and Asrin Khatun
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 11



George Orwell in his novel 1984, also written as Nineteen Eighty Four, has speculated about a future where one "Big Brother" will constitute the center head of a state. People in this state are purported to be continuously monitored and controlled by a 24x7 surveillance system. Such a vigilance culture is likely to drastically change the ways people behave by manipulating them to follow some dictated disciplines. This paper attempts to address and unravel the surveillance culture effectuated by a high-tech digital life where we find ourselves today. Here we argue that the instantaneous engagement of common people with social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter have made them vulnerable to surveillance politics. By drawing intuitions from the said novel, the contrapuntal study will discuss certain facts of the present time and the fictitious forebodings of the past. The study investigates how people have created multiple identities for themselves and also a bubble universe around themselves. The social media syndrome of the people of a digitized society is underscored here through a critical engagement with Orwell's seminal text, 1984.

"It's a message from a hundred years ago, only if one knew how to read it" (Orwell 2014, 144). Though it has not been "a hundred years" since George Orwell's visionary project 1984 (1949) got published, still the 'message' is obfuscating and everyone wants to know "how to read it." May be, that is why this nightmarish, futuristic, totalitarian and the dystopian 'vision' of Orwell is recurrently an altercated topic in various fields today. John Rodden noted, "The first image of Orwell to appear was the 'cautionary' prophet, which emerged when major Anglo-American critics reviewed 1984" (Rodden, 1990, 115). At present, not only in the arena of literature but beyond, George Orwell is a