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Existential Utopia: New Perspectives on Utopian Thought 1st Edition

ISBN-13: 978-1441169211
ISBN-10: 1441169210
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Editorial Reviews

Review

What is the philosophical meaning of utopia today? Where can utopian thought lead us? Is there still any space for utopian propositions after the end of metaphysics? These are the questions first rank philosophers, such as Jean-Luc Nancy, Cláudia Baracchi, and Gianni Vattimo among others, respond to in this remarkable book. As a hermeneutic philosopher I must invite everyone who believes in hope, difference, and alterity as values for a better future to study carefully Patrícia Vieira and Michael Marder's Existential Utopia. —Santiago Zabala, ICREA Research Professor at the University of Barcelona

Democratically open to contestation and different in orientation, the essays in this thought-provoking book share a commitment to utopian thought and practice as a counterforce to contemporary accommodation with an unjust order — an order where a concerted attack on the putative "privileges" of teachers may be cynically conjoined with a defense of outlandish executive bonuses and salaries as well as a costly bailout of financial institutions and high-level "inside-jobbers" responsible for the near collapse of the socio-economic system. The editors are acutely aware of the ways utopian incentives have been co-opted by the status quo in advertising as in politics where there is a romantic idealization of "free-market" ideology and "yes we can" becomes a vapid euphemism for more of the same. Yet they are also alert to the false apocalyptic appeal of blank utopias that make quasi-transcendental gestures to an unimaginable future that may be little more than a placebo for disempowerment and despair. They provide a framework for practical yet radical utopian initiatives that acknowledge inevitable existential risks yet offer what might be called possibilities of situational transcendence of existing institutions, practices, and policies. At the same time they provide a frame of reference for critically reading the ambitious essays in this collection and helping to renew options for the political imagination. —Dominick LaCapra, Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor of Humanistic Studies Cornell University


We are done with grand narratives, metaphysical ideas of progress, and messianic promises. But the danger is that in finishing with these things we will let our dystopic anxieties reign and political despair
triumph. Radical political thought cannot survive without a vitalthinking of the future. In the utterly necessary essays collected in this volume we are offered the outline for the idea of existential utopia: grounded in the everyday, fragile and transient, self-transformative and self-reinventing. Vieira and Marder and the authors they have gathered here have performed a task I did not think likely: to fashion a conception of utopian thought fit for the 21st century. —Jay M. Bernstein, New School for Social Research


This is a splendid collection of essays, sophisticated and engaging, challenging us to secure a new place, so to speak, for utopian thinking today. — Rebecca Comay, Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto, Canada


What is the philosophical meaning of utopia today? Where can utopian thought lead us? Is there still any space for utopian propositions after the end of metaphysics? These are the questions first rank philosophers, such as Jean-Luc Nancy, Cláudia Baracchi, and Gianni Vattimo among others, respond to in this remarkable book. As a hermeneutic philosopher I must invite everyone who believes in hope, difference, and alterity as values for a better future to study carefully Patrícia Vieira and Michael Marder's Existential Utopia. —Santiago Zabala, ICREA Research Professor at the University of Barcelona

Democratically open to contestation and different in orientation, the essays in this thought-provoking book share a commitment to utopian thought and practice as a counterforce to contemporary accommodation with an unjust order – an order where a concerted attack on the putative “privileges” of teachers may be cynically conjoined with a defense of outlandish executive bonuses and salaries as well as a costly bailout of financial institutions and high-level “inside-jobbers” responsible for the near collapse of the socio-economic system. The editors are acutely aware of the ways utopian incentives have been co-opted by the status quo in advertising as in politics where there is a romantic idealization of “free-market” ideology and “yes we can” becomes a vapid euphemism for more of the same.  Yet they are also alert to the false apocalyptic appeal of blank utopias that make quasi-transcendental gestures to an unimaginable future that may be little more than a placebo for disempowerment and despair.  They provide a framework for practical yet radical utopian initiatives that acknowledge inevitable existential risks yet offer what might be called possibilities of situational transcendence of existing institutions, practices, and policies.  At the same time they provide a frame of reference for critically reading the ambitious essays in this collection and helping to renew options for the political imagination. —Dominick LaCapra, Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor of Humanistic Studies Cornell University

About the Author

Michael Marder is Ikerbasque Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz. 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).

Patricia I. Vieira is Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, in the Comparative Literature Program, and in the Film and Media Studies Program of Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA.

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Existential Utopia: New Perspectives on Utopian Thought
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