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Nicholas J. Long

The metaworld Ultima Online was designed to foster 'tight communities' of inhabitants. So ware users frequently say it has done just that. Yet many users spend most of their time online alone, engaged in practices of self-realization, individuation, and skill maximization. Drawing on Wilde's utopian writings, I suggest that Ultima Online has fostered an emergent sociality of sympathetic individualism - but that characterizing this as 'community', 'friendship' and 'camaraderie' also allows users to engage with seemingly opposed communitarian tropes of the good life. This affords insights into how ethical imaginations influence emergent forms of human sociality.

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Zoe Bray and Christian Thauer

In this article, we explore how corporate social responsibility may serve to mitigate the confl ict between the utopia that many people—particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds in emerging markets states—associate with globalization and, on the other hand, the detrimental effect this globalization often actually has both on the quality of life of people and on the environment. Empirical data is drawn from field research on firm and local community relations in South Africa and China. We consider the extent to which corporate social responsibility may be a means to move beyond both utopian hopes and the dystopian reality of globalization.

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George Johnston’s Tibetan Interlude

Myth and Reality in Shangri-La

Paul Genoni and Tanya Dalziell

In 1945 Australian war correspondent and later novelist George Johnston undertook a journey on the Tibetan Plateau with fellow American correspondent James Burke. Johnston later wrote about this adventure in his memoir Journey Through Tomorrow (1947) as part of a wider account of his travels in Asia during the Second World War. This article considers the Tibetan section of his narrative with a focus on the influence of English novelist James Hilton’s Lost Horizon, with its depiction of a Tibetan utopia in the form of the lamasery of Shangri-La. In doing so the article considers Johnston’s text as an example of the challenge faced by travel writers in negotiating the territory between myth and reality in representing the ‘truth’ of their experience, and as a narrative that avoids the worst of the orientalizing traits of many other travelers’ accounts of Tibet.

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Autonomy and the Spaciousness of the Social in Denmark

The Conflict Between Ungdomshuset and Faderhuset

Stine Krøijer and Inger Sjørslev

This article is concerned with the idea of societal 'spaciousness' and its relationship to individual and collective autonomy. These issues are analyzed in the context of the eviction of a self-managed social center of left-radical activists in Copenhagen and the protests and public debate that followed. The authors find that societal spaciousness in Denmark is metaphorically associated with a house or a limited physical space. People should limit themselves in public space, as in a house, to 'make room' for all. Because youngsters are not conceived of as fully fledged political subjects who are able to conduct themselves appropriately in public space, they become a group of special concern. The authors argue that space should be conceived as a dimension of social relations, and that sociality relies on a temporal assemblage of people, things, and imaginaries with space.

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Francio Guadeloupe and Vincent A. de Rooij

This essay argues that the way in which black, brown, and white youngsters in the Netherlands are taking on a new anti-essentialist version of black identity fabricated by the culture industry offers a mode of post-racialism in multicultural Europe. This new version of black identity is based upon the liberating potential in Black Atlantic music forms. Yet questions remain as to whether this potential is only temporary and whether it still bears traces of older modes of racial and gender exclusivism.

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Series and Systems

Russian and American Dystopian Satires of the Cold War

Derek Maus

One of most striking aspects of literature written during the Cold War is the prevalence of dystopian and/or anti-utopian works. As the prefixes of both terms imply, the genres that attempt to discredit utopias have generally been perceived in opposition to their model texts, i.e., utopias posit an ideal society, whereas dystopias posit a terrible society resulting from specific utopian premises. Although numerous contemporary critics have explained the relationship between utopia and dystopia in terms that transcend such straightforward divisions, the dystopian fiction of the Cold War suggests that there is still some utility in considering (though not adopting) the more simplistic definition, both because utopian language generally contains a simple good/bad logical dichotomy and because the culture and politics of both the Soviet Union and the United States during this period frequently relied on such simple binary utopian sentiment. In my view, the prevalence of dystopian and anti-utopian sentiment in Russian and American fiction is a parodic-satirical response intended to subvert the rampant utopian mindsets of both the superpowers during the Cold War. The authors of the works examined here do not support either side in this ideological struggle, but rather attempt to invalidate the conflict's overarching logical context.

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Sicily

An Anthropological Meeting Point

Christian Giordano

On the basis of their shared research and teaching on Sicily since the 1970s, the author contrasts his own Mediterraneanist approach and German scholar Ina-Maria Greverus’ utopian view of the European south as an outstanding experience of an intellectual encounter. Respectful debates of disputatious positions are a rare gift in the academic world of today.

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Nicholas Van Hear, Veronique Barbelet, Christina Bennett and Helma Lutz

Imagining Refugia: Thinking Outside the Current Refugee Regime, Nicholas Van Hear

Refugia: A Place Where Refugees Survive, But Do Not Thrive, Veronique Barbelet and Christina Bennett

Beware of Social Engineering: A Response to “Refugia” by Nicholas Van Hear, Helma Lutz

Refugia: Pragmatic Utopianism, Nicholas Van Hear

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Putting Anthropology into Global Health

A Century of Anti–Human African Trypanosomiasis Campaigns in Angola

Jorge Varanda and Josenando Théophile

This analysis of over a century of public health campaigns against human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) in Angola aims to unravel the role of (utopian) dreams in global health. Attention to the emergence and use of concepts such as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and ideas about elimination or eradication highlights how these concepts and utopian dreams are instrumental for the advancement of particular agendas in an ever-shifting field of global health. The article shows how specific representations of the elimination and eradication of diseases, framed over a century ago, continue to push Western views and politics of care onto others. This analysis generates insight into how global health and its politics of power functioned in Angola during colonialism and post-independence.

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Jeppe von Platz

According to both common wisdom and long-standing tradition, the ideal of peace is central to the morality of war. I argue that this notion is mistaken, not because peace is unachievable and utopian, though it might be for many of today's asymmetrical conflicts; nor because the pursuit of peace is counterproductive, though, again, it might be for many of today's conflicts; the problem, rather, is that the pursuit of peace is not a proper objective of war.