Hooked on an Affect: Detroit Techno and Dystopian Digital Culture


  • Richard Pope Ryerson University


techno, Detroit, dystopia, affect, futurism, desire, subculture


Detroit techno is typically historicized as having grown out of the late 1970s and early 1980s middle-class, consumerist, and aspirational high school social party scene, giving the impression that Detroit techno artists created forward-thinking music as a means to acquire subcultural capital and (re)produce their identities. In this essay, this position is nuanced for a more complex understanding of techno’s relation to the quotidian phenomenological encounter with the dystopian setting of Detroit. Concomitantly, predominant theorizations of affect within the humanities, which emphasize the utopian, hopeful dimensions of affect’s inherent productivity, are supplemented for an understanding of productive energy revolving around affects of dystopia and on a certain hopelessness which scholars, in the years ahead, will increasingly have to negotiate.

Keywords: techno, Detroit, dystopia, affect, aesthetic, desire, subculture

Author Biography

Richard Pope, Ryerson University

Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculty of Communication and Design, Ryerson University






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