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(Im)perfection Subverted, Reloaded and Networked: Utopian Discourse across Media

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Edited By Barbara Klonowska, Zofi Kolbuszewska and Grzegorz Maziarczyk

This study explores various intersections between the traditional utopian discourse and such media as music, comic books, TV series, feature films, documentaries, fan fiction, computer games and web projects, bringing to focus the transformative role of the media used for the presentation and implementation of utopian projects. It shows both the variety of forms of expression of utopian impulses and the relocation and reinterpretation of utopia in the contemporary culture of convergence.
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Barbara Klonowska, Zofia Kolbuszewska and Grzegorz Maziarczyk: Utopian Reconfigurations in the Culture of Convergence

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Utopian Reconfigurations in the Culture of Convergence

BARBARA KLONOWSKA ZOFIA KOLBUSZEWSKA GRZEGORZ MAZIARCZYK

The desire for a better existence – being and living – has been an inherent feature of human culture. As an expression of this desire, utopia “is analogous to a quest for grace which is both existential and relational” (Levitas xii-xiii). Ruth Levitas argues in Utopia as Method: The Imaginary Reconstitution of Society that an analytic definition of utopia in terms of desire generates a method of inquiry where existential and aesthetic concerns are not an end in itself, but rather point to the social and structural domain (xiii). Thinking about utopia means attempting both to imagine and make a different world. Utopian studies are mainly concerned with intentional communities that inhabit enclaves or create heterotopias even if some of those are clearly intended as “prefiguration[s] or instantiation[s] of a transformed world” (Levitas xiii).

Prefigurative practices are often embedded in social practices which, it is hoped, will transform social relations. Mundane or everyday utopianism – considered a way of fostering alternative or oppositional social practices in order to create “new, or at least slightly different” (xiii) social institutions – has recently become a focus of political attention and an object of study. Levitas emphasizes that while socialist and environmentalist politics easily lend themselves to being designated as utopian, it is important to discern the utopian character, often shot through with nostalgia, of right-wing politics, in particular at the level of the state and...

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