New book >> Rethinking Utopia: Place, Power, Affect

David Bell's picture

Hi all,

Just a quick one to say that Routledge have just published my Rethinking Utopia: Place, Power, Affect (blurb below). It's one of those expensive blue hardback jobs (though there is also a kindle edition), but I'm more than happy to help anyone out who can't afford it - just drop me an email (dmbell85@gmail.com). Equally, if anyone would be interested in reviewing it let me know and I can sort that out for you. If you're in a position to order it for a library and are willing to do so that would be very much appreciated!

All the best to everyone!

Dave

Rethinking Utopia: Place, Power, Affect

Over five hundred years since it was named, utopia remains a vital concept for understanding and challenging the world(s) we inhabit, even in – or rather because of – the condition of ‘post-utopianism’ that supposedly permeates them. In Rethinking Utopia David M. Bell offers a diagnosis of the present through the lens of utopia and then, by rethinking the concept through engagement with utopian studies, a variety of ‘radical’ theories and the need for decolonizing praxis, shows how utopianism might work within, against and beyond that which exists in order to provide us with hope for a better future.

He proposes paying a ‘subversive fidelity’ to utopia, in which its three constituent terms: ‘good’ (eu), ‘place’ (topos), and ‘no’ (ou) are rethought to assert the importance of immanent, affective relations. The volume engages with a variety of practices and forms to articulate such a utopianism, including popular education/critical pedagogy; musical improvisation; and utopian literature. The problems as well as the possibilities of this utopianism are explored, although the problems are often revealed to be possibilities, provided they are subject to material challenge.

Rethinking Utopia offers a way of thinking about (and perhaps realising) utopia that helps overcome some of the binary oppositions structuring much thinking about the topic. It allows utopia to be thought in terms of place and process; affirmation and negation; and the real and the not-yet. Itengages with the spatial and affective turns in the social sciences without ever uncritically being subsumed by them; and seeks to make connections to indigenous cosmologies. It is a cautious, careful, critical work punctuated by both pessimism and hope; and a refusal to accept the finality of this or any world.

'David Bell’s is one of the most insightful and challenging new voices not only in utopian studies but more broadly in critical theory and cultural studies. In Rethinking Utopia: Place, Power, Affect, he conjoins his engaged theoretical analysis with his political, performative, and pedagogical experience and delivers a deeply considered, and truly dialectical, re-functioning of the utopian problematic that will enable both scholars and activists to work with and in the process of utopian transformation in affective and structural ways. Put aside your reading lists, and turn to this book – and in doing so prepare to have your critical paradigm shifted.' - Tom Moylan, Glucksman Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies at the University of Limerick

'David Bell's book stands out among recent contributions to the field of utopian studies for its theoretical sophistication and originality. The excellent discussion of utopia as place is particularly noteworthy. I warmly recommend this work to all those interested in rethinking utopia as a tool for self-critical radical political thought in the twenty-first century.' - Dr. Laurence Davis, University College Cork, editor of Anarchism and Utopianism (2014) and The New Utopian Politics of Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed (2005)

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