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Dystopian Society

Characteristics of Dystopian Societies in literature planning information

Those who tell stories rule society.


This page includes information for teaching about dystopian societies and understanding them as a setting in literature.

It includes a planning map with information gathered with a framework designed around 11 categories that outstanding teachers consider when making teaching and learning decisions. Those categories include: focus questions, perceptual responses of learners initial thoughts about the topic, observations made when exploring the topic, properties that make up the concept, transformations used to construct relationships of the concepts or generalization from the observation made of those properties when they participate in related tasks and activities. Also considered is how to assess progress and achievement, the classroom atmosphere to encourage learning and instructional assessment for better teaching and learning.

Also included is a list of possible literature to use and notes and characteristics of a functional and dystopian society.

Sample planning map

Dystopian Society Map

Information moved from planning map to outline

Focus questions

Perceptual response


Real world value application

Relationship concept map



Tasks or activities

Assessment levels

Classroom atmosphere

Instructional assessment


Literature with dystopian societies

Notes about functional and dystopian societies

Characteristics of a functional society

Causes for discontent and revolution

Categories to consider for dystopian and functinal societies

How to integrate personal morality, tradition, religion divinity, , politics (local - national) culture, public policy, ... into a unified ordered community / culture for a common purpose common good for the good of all (most?, demos - popular majority). Flourish through common people.

Who deserves what? How to reproduce privilege. Meritocracy - by ability


  1. What is tradition (customs or beliefs from generation to generation)? When does tradition go against history (alternative telling of the past)? When do people go against tradition? When can going with or against tradition become going against people? How do we decide to follow tradition or move away from tradition?
  2. Does providing for all needs become tradition? Are all celebrations based on tradition or are they cultural? Or are they spontaneous and novel.
  3. Is the past considered irrelevant or outmoded for the present?

Economy wisdom of the market, free enterprise,


Politics as a balance between freedom for the individual and maintenance of the social order.

Can be thought of as socialism and individualism.

Socialism centered discontent can be caused by - extended self sacrifice, slave labor, extensive labor decided by the state and for the state. Assigned life-long jobs, decide to build pyramids. To want other people to do well isn't socialism.

Individualism universal yearning for freedom. balance between solving problems from the grassroots (blind faith happenstance will solve if government gets out of the way) to top down government solutions.

How to deliver the common good to whom.

  1. Is government for all or limited to a selected few, rich, land owners, educated, ... ?
  2. Do people who speak for the people speak for all or for some of the people? Super rich? Poor?
  3. Is government an incorruptible defender of the people?
  4. Is everything in the citizen's hands? How many citizens? Democracy of for ... ?
  5. Is the government national, in a sense that it must be governed by the people and for the people?
  6. Is there as system, like education, school, media, family, culture, ... so each generation can discover its mission? In a manner where it doesn't have to do so alone?
  7. Who has property rights? Who owns what? Private lands vs. public lands and the commons.
  8. Economic rights
  9. Distribution of resources

Free speech




Emotional words

Liberal, conservative (not committed to conservation in any sense of the word), right, left, family, neighborhood, religious, minority, academic, Hollywood, sex, drugs, alcohol, consumption, technology, elite, poor, transgender, LGBT+, natural family, sexualization of children, rich, schools, marriage (perpetual biological reproduction to perpetuate a continuous political community) , pregnancy, abortion, woke (a container for anything the speaker does not approve), state supported health care, well fair, food stamps, minimum wage, universal wage, gun-control, human rights, independent judiciary, public school, private school, charter school, social change, social engineering, crime, mandatory sentencing, three strike laws, end of life, rules, cooperation, regulations, race, class, media, immigration, free-loader, free-lunch,

Regulations - standard measurements, labels,


I may be wrong, but it still may be a debate worth having.