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.
Nicholas J. Long
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
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.
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.
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.
Rick Turner and the End of the Durban Moment
Many key participants in the ‘emerging Trade Union movement’ were once influenced heavily by Turner. Nonetheless, as they moved into the unions, most adopted a mechanistic version of Marxism, and rejected Turner’s idealistic, anti-authoritarian Socialism. There are two different ways to interpret the significance of the ‘Durban Moment’. In one telling, there is a linear progression between the social movements in the 1970s through to the foment of the 1980s, and the end of apartheid in 1994. The other interpretation seeks to understand the unique qualities of the political developments of the early 1970s in counter-balance to the opposition politics that came before and after. The ultimate erasure of Rick Turner’s politics is to claim that they have been assimilated into movements that developed after his death. As long as we believe that Rick Turner’s vision was embraced by those who came after him, we will remain within a cul-de-sac.
Conflict over natural resource usage has been ongoing in Tasmania for many years. There continues to be considerable community concern, disquiet and conflict over forestry management practices. In an analysis of his numerous community support projects the author saw an opportunity to involve community members in decisions relating to natural resource management. An interest in action research led him to propose a form of activism based on the ideas of post-normal science (PNS). The idea of the extended peer review aspect of post-normal science has been used in the development of a participative inquiry methodology known as community-based auditing (CBA). The contributions to theory and practice of PNS and environmental activism are thought to be significant. Several cases are briefly discussed.
Eighteenth-Century Utopianism and Fire Down Below
William Golding’s Fire Down Below (1989) is the last in his ‘Sea Trilogy’, a sequence of novels which began in 1980 with Rites of Passage and continued in 1987 with Close Quarters. Edmund Talbot, Golding’s young, aristocratic protagonist, finally arrives in Australia shortly after the end of the Napoleonic Wars and this sea-borne bildungsroman is brought to an end. The response to Fire Down Below was extremely enthusiastic, and markedly different from the cautious and even mildly hostile response which greeted Close Quarters. The great majority of reviewers agreed that the happy ending of Fire Down Below made it Golding’s most optimistic novel. John Bayley wrote: ‘Fire Down Below brings the whole magical enterprise to a prosperous and happy conclusion’, while John Fowles wrote: ‘In this black-besotted age some may be unsettled by the happy ending, indeed by the generally jaunty (a word that kept perversely returning to me as I read) spirit of this closing leg.’ However, the last of Golding’s books published in his life-time can be read as a deeply conservative political allegory and, overall, as one of his most deeply pessimistic novels.
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.
Community leaders, everyday needs, and utopian aspirations in Recife, Brazil
Martijn Koster and Pieter A. de Vries
This article envisages slum dwellers' politics in Recife, Brazil as a realm of possibility in which care and recognition are central. Community leaders are its main facilitators as articulators of slum dwellers' needs and aspirations. The article's notion of slum politics is an elaboration of Chatterjee's (2004) ideas on popular politics as a “politics of the governed.“ Yet the article critiques the governmentality perspective for its inability to envisage a politics of hope and possibility. It distinguishes among slum politics, governmental politics (projects and programs), and electoral politics (voting), which are entwined and interdependent, but different. Zooming in on a community leader's urban agriculture project, the article argues that this project, which from an outsiders' perspective may be considered non-viable, provided slum dwellers with possibilities to strive for community solidarity and personal recognition. Slum politics, the article concludes, is about claiming the right to be counted and recognized, and about the care for the other.