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Utopian Effects, Dystopian Pleasures

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Peter Fitting

Edited By Brian Greenspan

This collection brings together for the first time Peter Fitting’s writings about the utopian impulse as expressed in science fiction, fantasy, cinema, architecture, and cultural theory. These wide-ranging essays trace the constant reconsideration of the utopian project itself over the past four decades, from its mid-twentieth century period of decline to its revival in counter-cultural science fiction of the 1960s and ‘70s, its second decline with the «dystopian turn» in film, and the rise of feminist pessimism in the 1980s.

These pages reveal what popular utopian, dystopian, and science-fiction narratives tell us about today’s most pressing political issues, including gender equity, education reform, technological change, capitalist excess, state-sanctioned violence, and the challenges of effecting lasting political change. Through analyses of various popular genres and media, the author demonstrates how utopian visions written from particular political perspectives transcend narrowly partisan concerns to stoke our collective desire for another world and a more adequate human future, teaching us how to become the citizens and subjects that a utopian society demands.

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About the book

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UTOPIAN EFFECTS, DYSTOPIAN PLEASURES

This book brings together for the first time Peter Fitting’s writings about the utopian impulse as expressed in science fiction, fantasy, cinema, architecture, and cultural theory. It traces the constant reconsideration of the utopian project itself over the past four decades, from its mid-twentieth century period of decline to its revival in countercultural science fiction of the 1960s and ‘70s, its second decline with the “dystopian turn” in film, and the rise of feminist pessimism in the 1980s.

This book reveals what popular utopian, dystopian, and science-fiction narratives tell us about today’s most pressing political issues, including gender equity, education reform, technological change, capitalist excess, state-sanctioned violence, and the challenges of effecting lasting political change. Through analyses of various popular genres and media, the author demonstrates how utopian visions written from particular political perspectives transcend narrowly partisan concerns to stoke our collective desire for another world and a more adequate human future, teaching us how to become the citizens and subjects that a utopian society demands.

. . . [W]hat an extraordinary contribution Peter made to the field. Peter regularly broke new ground and asked questions that needed to be asked, such as in his “Utopia Beyond Our Ideals: The Dilemma of the Right-Wing Utopia,” which, although written in 1989 and published in 1991, is essential reading today. His work on gender is relevant to current discussions of intersubjectivity, and his work on utopian film was pioneering. This collection will be essential...

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