Searching for utopia in dystopian times

By Andy Inch

“Utopia is the process of making a better world, the name for one path history can take, a dynamic, tumultuous, agonizing process, with no end. Struggle forever.” 
― Kim Stanley Robinson, Pacific Edge

“No place like utopia”. Source: Creative Commons

It can be hard to know what to say when non-academic friends and family ask what you do as a full-time researcher. They often shake their heads, laugh and ask (only half-jokingly) when you’re going to get a real job. When faced with this reaction, I’ve discovered it’s best not to admit to spending long hours reading about utopia.  But at the risk of confirming people’s prejudices about life in the ivory tower that is one of the things I’ve been doing over recent months.

Since Thomas More coined the term in 1516, Utopia has been an important reference point in the cultural life of Western societies. Here in Lisbon the 500th anniversary of the publication of More’s book was marked by a series of debates and performances at the Maria Matos Theatre while one of the first exhibitions at the newly opened MAAT was entitled ‘utopia/ dystopia’. Continuar a ler