Barbara Klonowska, Zofia Kolbuszewska and Grzegorz Maziarczyk: Utopian Reconfigurations in the Culture of Convergence
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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