Existential Utopia: New Perspectives on Utopian Thought
Michael Marder, Patricia Vieira
Radical political thought of the 20th century was dominated by utopia, but the failure of communism in Eastern Europe and its disavowal in China has brought on the need for a new model of utopian thought. This book thus seeks to redefine the concept of utopia and bring it to bear on today's politics.
The original essays, contributed by key thinkers such as Gianni Vattimo and Jean-Luc Nancy, highlight the connection between utopian theory and practice. The book reassesses the legacy of utopia and conceptualizes alternatives to the neo-liberal, technocratic regimes prevalent in today's world. It argues that only utopia in its existential sense, grounded in the lived time and space of politics, can distance itself from mainstream ideology and not be at the service of technocratic regimes, while paying attention to the material conditions of human life.
Existential Utopia offers a new and exciting interpretation of utopia in contemporary culture and a much-needed intervention into the philosophical and political discussion of utopian thinking that is both accessible to students and comprehensive.
out and concretely outline, this idea? Would you agree to preserve the paleonym “communism” for the purposes of describing what you call the utopian “communitarian state free from tyranny and injustice”? JLN: Please, note the following. Historical “communism,” such as that of the USSR or of China, similarly to all the others (in Yugoslavia, for example), was not— or was to a very small extent— an experience that tried to “incarnate” the communist idea. There was very little movement in that
Adorno, utopia is still bound up with a totality that can no longer be conceived of as fulfilled. Even if only by acting as a critical principle that warns against all claims of historical fulfillment, the utopian telos still reveals its connection to the totality and, therefore, to the metaphysical desire for systematization. If, following the thread of a rational argument, we then conclude that utopian imagination, at least in its strict sense and not in the sense of a pure and simple 18
various semantic layers of the slogan but also for reorienting it back toward existence, wherein it has originated. First, the world, commonly understood as a unified structure inhabited by multiple individuals, is a concept presupposed by objectivist science, which reduces divergences in perspective to different points of entry into a reality, ultimately monolithic and the same in itself. Globalization, starting with the economic integration of world markets, and scientific rationality with its
could productively be used to develop a Marxian anthropology and social psychology today and that his own anthropological and psychological perspectives are deeper and more illuminating than Freudo-Marxist approaches associated with the Frankfurt school or French theory like that of Deleuze and Guattari, Lyotard, and so on. Briefly examining Bloch’s critique of Freud will enable us to perceive how he is able to point to ideological tendencies in thinkers and theories often not perceived by
G. Ballard writes: “The most prudent and effective method of dealing with the world around us is to assume that it is a complete fiction— conversely, the one small kernel of reality left to us is inside our own heads” (11). Ballard, then, approaches a world whose primary and fundamental characteristic he diagnosed, namely the radical inversion of the mechanisms of meaning. “In the past we have always assumed that the external world around us has represented reality, however confusing or