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“Transcending Without Transcendence”: Utopianism and an Ethos of Hope

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Human geography has recently witnessed an emergent interest in the intertwined problematics of how to be utopian and how to remain hopeful or optimistic. This paper aims to introduce a type of immanent utopianism that follows from a dynamic, open, conception of utopia. It revolves around thinking through how an ethos of hope functions in relation to the multiple problems and tasks of utopia/utopianism. The paper describes how Ernst Bloch re-defined the utopian as a type of process and then outlines a style of immanent utopianism based on an explicit ethos of hope. The result is a sensitivity to matter as utopological, as containing an immanent reference to a not-yet beyond, that obliges us to practice a utopianism that intervenes in the emergence, and change, of something better in a world that takes place “in hazard”. In conclusion the paper argues for a utopic geography based on being, and becoming, hopeful that is itself a response to an ethical imperative to give and find hope in the context of the tragedy and injustice of suffering.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Durham, Science Laboratories, South Road, Durham, UK;, Email:

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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