‘By contraries execute all things’

‘Savages’ were invented in the Old World but encountered in the New. J.G.A. Pocock, Barbarism and Religion It is imperative to accept the idea that negation does not signify nothingness; that when the mirror does not reflect our own likeness, it does not prove there is nothing to perceive. Pierre Clastres, ‘Copernicus and the Savages’ […]

Heterosexual Utopianism

Heterosexual Utopianism Kate Soper ‘When people of a later age look back upon the barbarous customs and superstitions of the times we have the unhappiness to live in, what will they say?’ Sue Bridehead’s question – or rather exclamation – in Jude the Obscure – is, of course, rhetorical; and Hardy has surely been vindicated […]

Framing and Freeing

Framing and Freeing: Utopias of the Female Body Lynda Nead The standard definition of utopia is in two parts: it is at once ‘no place’ and also the imagined location of the good society. * Utopian fiction and non-fiction frequently tell the story of the traveller who moves from the flawed world of the present […]

Marxism, Romanticism and Utopia

Marxism, Romanticism and Utopia: Ernst Bloch and William Morris Ruth Levitas t Marxists have generally been antagonistic to anything that could be described as utopian, justifying this on the basis of Marx ‘s and Engels’ strictures on the ‘utopian socialists’. In recent years, several writers have pointed out that neither Marx nor Engels was totally […]

Socialist Socrates

6Socialist Socrates Ernst Bloch in the GDR Anna-Sabine Ernst and Gerwin Klinger Aphilosopher is being ‘turned’ Ernst Bloch is experiencing a peculiar revival. Peculiar in the sense that, currently fashionable discourses of ʻthe futureʼ notwithstanding, contemporary interest in his philosophy focuses not so much on his concept of concrete utopia as on reshaping the Bloch […]

Intersubjectivity and openness to change

The work of the German philosopher Michael Theunissen spans a forty-year period from 1958, when he published his doctoral thesis The Concept of Earnestness in Søren Kierkegaard, to the present. [1] His general intellectual trajectory can be divided into four loosely distinct phases, developing from an early interest in existentialism, via a period focused on […]

Childhood experience and the image of utopia

Childhood experience and the image of utopia The broken promise of Adorno’s Proustian sublimations Matt F. Connell adjustment, amounting to an uncritical internalization of the reality which insists that the infant must only enjoy that which is socially sanctioned. Children must progressively give up earlier forms of happiness and pleasure, which demand everything in an […]

All their play becomes fruitful

The central tenet of Charles Fourierʼs theory was the promise of universal happiness and social unity through a radical revision of manʼs relationship to labour. Vehemently opposed to both the violence of mass insurrection and the hypocrisies and corruption of burgeoning industrial capitalism, he dreamed of a pacific cultural revolution that would emerge from the […]

The Dreambird of Experience

What future for utopia? Or, rather, what future for the utopian after the critique of utopia? What future for possibility after the critique of its depiction as actual?* Utopias have a notoriously contradictory structure: they evoke possibilities by depicting them as actual, yet thereby, in themselves partaking of the actual – as depictions – they […]

Doing something and doing nothing

Doing something and doing nothing Esther leslie Culture is put busily to work these days. In Europe, certainly, culture is made the bearer of promises – the promise of a better quality of life, of a more educated public, of a more efficient and value-added cultural sphere, and, not least, the promise of regenerated economies. […]