Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Utopias: what are they?

The blue circles represent the key (and always present?) elements of utopian imagination – each one differently emphasized by different authors.

At the centre: Humanity and Nature (Human Nature?)

and then (in a reflexive relationship with the centre and with each other):
  • Sex/ Reproduction
  • Work, Wealth, Property
  • Education, Conversation/Communication, Law
  • Philosophy, Science

The red circles represent areas of criticism drawn from historical experience (also differently emphasised by different authors.

• knowledge

• government

• economy

• religion

And is the object the self? Or the self in society? Or society?

This is just my version - what is yours?


Lutsek said...

Everyday I enjoy this blog. I'm doing my PhD on Utopianism.

To try to reply this question I borrow a Cartesian Coordinates scheme from Argentinean philosopher Ricardo Maliandi making a complex of four principles: universality, indivuality, change and conservation. I think utopia is always a kind of conflict near of the center of this scheme. It isn't an individual or a universal thing (instead of Campanella or another utopian authors thought) it's basically social, but in conflict. The same with change and conservation, it isn't restauration or revolution, it's close to reformation. But overall it's a concept to think, to criticize and to improve our world.

Thank you for share this ideas and links with people far far away from York.

Sarah Rees Jones said...

Thank you so much for you comment! Where are you based?

In class this week we also considered Frederik Jameson's use of the Greimas semiotic square to analyse and frame Utopias. And Marin's use of the horizon.

I am very curious to see what schemes others come up with

Lutsek said...

I made a strange mix of Argentinean philosopher Maliandi's ethical theory with Bronislaw Baczko's approaches to utopia, Raymond Trousson's and Alexandru Cioranescu's concepts of utopia lato sensu and utopia stricto sensu.
But I often quote Krishan Kumar, Pierre-François Moreau, Colin Davis, Fernando Aínsa, Jean Servier and Karl Mannheim. I am eager to continue reading new perspectives on this endless topic.
On 2009 with some colleages I made a series of interviews with specialist for two journals (Fortunati, Kumar, Davis & Moreau). Vita Fortunati's interview is available in Spanish at Prometeica Journal, Nº1, I, 2010
I have some projects here in Argentina with Mexican and Colombian colleagues for International meetings. I will contact you in private if you are interested.

Sarah Rees Jones said...

Thanks again! i know of some of those approaches but not all of them. So thank you for the suggestions. I will follow up the link with great interest.

My own background is as a medieval historian - so I come at this topic from a very different perspective from many contemporary writers. Nevertheless, like you, I am interested in increasing my knowledge of contemporary approaches to utopia.

Tom Saint said...

Hi sarah.
Just watched the most recent Human Planet (episode 8) which is about cities. At 38 minutes, narrator John Hurt examines a current experiment by Norman Foster, who is attemting to establish a green city called 'Mazdar' in the desert of Abu Dhabi. He claims that though creating a carbon and waste free city, humanity can live harmoniously in nature. Its powered by the sun, and it looks pretty cool! worth a look as another example of 21st century utopias! heres the link: