Andrew S. Tompkins

Utopia or Dystopia? Cultural Representations of Nuclear Energy in Western European Anti-Nuclear Movements

A collaborative presentation by Karena Kalmbach, Matthias Lieb, Stephen Milder, Andrew Tompkins, and Dick van Lente at the Tensions of Europe conference, Kungliga Tekniska högskolan, Stockholm, 3-6 September 2015.

Our analysis focuses on representations of nuclear energy and of the anti-nuclear movement itself within them.  Guided by our questioning of the stark contrasts between utopia and dystopia that these artifacts portray, we ask two primary questions of our sources.  On the one hand, we will examine which motifs or topoi dominated these works and look for transnational links, but also variations in France, the UK, and West Germany.  On the other hand, we will seek to elucidate the specific ways in which utopia and dystopia are depicted in these artifacts.  Do they criticize technology? Science? Experts? The state? Do they praise scientific alternatives? Activist communities? Counter-expertise? Here again, we will look for links across Western Europe, as well as similarities and differences amongst the three case studies.