Imagined Worlds: Utopia & Dystopia

This week we were introduced to some concepts regarding Utopias and Dystopia, with all of us having to write down our “Utopian Demands” on a piece of paper, fold it up and hand it in. Based on the assumption that Utopia is an “ideal(ized) society” I noted things like;




And a few more that I forget at the time of writing.

The term “Utopia” comes from Thomas More’s Utopia, originally written in Latin in 1516, and was written as something of a critique of Feudalism – the idea that society would be built around land holdings being exchanged for labour or services – although it was a patriarchal Utopia, so its not what I would assume/hope most people nowadays would think of as Utopian.

Utopian cities and ideals have been represented in various forms in “recent” history, for example: Le Corbusier was hired to come up with a blueprint, layout and plan for a Utopian version of the Indian city of Chandigarh. Welthauptstadt Germania was Hitler’s vision for a post WW2 renovation of the city of Berlin as an absolute example of a Nazi Utopia, via a restructuring of the city and society. Brasilia was founded in 1960 and built as  Utopia of Brazilian society, the ideal example and place to live.

Ernst Bloch suggested that Utopia was the expression of hope, “not only as emotion, but more essentially as a directing act of a cognitive kind”. He also suggested that there were two kinds of Utopias;

Abstract – Wishful thinking, but not prepared to actually do anything (typically emphatic people in a position of privilege).

Concrete – Wishful thinking AND with the will to actually do something about it.



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