These original essays contributed by leading thinkers aim to revitalize utopian thinking and apply it to contemporary national and international politics. 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.
Patricia Vieira is Researcher of the Center for Comparative Studies, University of Lisbon, Portugal and Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Georgetown University, USA. She is the author of Seeing Politics Otherwise: Vision in Latin American and Iberian Fiction (University of Toronto Press, 2010). Michael Marder is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Duquesne University, USA and a Research Fellow at the Centre of Philosophy at the University of Lisbon. He is the Associate Editor of Telos: A Quarterly Journal of Critical Thought and the author of The Event of The Thing: Derrida's Post-Deconstructive Realism (2009).
Introduction. Utopia: A Political Ontology; Michael Marder and Patricia Vieira; PART I: Utopia Unbound; 1. In Place of Utopia; Jean-Luc Nancy; 2. Utopia, Counter-Utopia, Irony; Gianni Vattimo; 3. From Modern Utopias to Contemporary Uchronia; Alexandre Franco de Sa; 4. Existential Utopia - Of the World, the Possible, the Finite; Michael Marder and Patricia Vieira; 5. Still / Encore; Marcia Cavalcante-Schuback; 6. The Theater of Utopia: Deleuze On Acting and Politics; Claudia Baracchi; PART II: Putting Utopia to Work; 7. Ernst Bloch, Utopia and Ideology Critique; Douglas Kellner; 8. Secularism and Post-Secularism in Roberto Unger and Ernst Bloch: Towards a Utopian Ontology; Ruth Levitas; 9. At the End of Utopia - Indifference; Josep Ramoneda; 10. History, Politics, and Utopia: Towards a Synthesis of Social Theory and Practice; Laurence Davis; 11. A Practical Utopia for the Twenty-First Century; Robert Albritton; Notes; Bibliography.