utopia   2056

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Living Differently: How the Feminist Utopia Is Something You Have to Be Doing Now
Yet, for quite a while, those of us once more identifying as feminist, myself included, were still ignorant about that earlier ‘awakening’ of women. It took years for us to excavate the buried diversity of proposals others had presented as the twentieth century kicked off. And, despite the intervening changes over the decades, so many of the dilemmas of the past re-emerged, simply because none of them had been solved. These included all the old impasses around women’s sexuality and reproductive rights, how to share caring among men, women and the wider community, how to secure equal training and wages for women, and what to do to end men’s violence against women, while at the same time fighting for a transformed democratic economic and social world, one attentive to existing differences and discrimination, where unpaid domestic work would be valued as highly as waged work.

It was Fredric Jameson who in the early 1990s wrote the oft-repeated adage, ‘Someone once said that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism.’ It is less often recalled that he then added, even more dramatically: ‘We can now revise that and witness the attempt to imagine capitalism by way of imagining the end of the world.’ Vividly depicting ‘a situation in which the historical imagination is paralysed and cocooned, as though by a predator’s sting’, Jameson saw the then-reigning intellectual ‘postmodern’ nihilism as an expression that people could no longer see themselves as part of the making of history, or envisage anything other than an endless repetition of the world we now occupy: ‘The problem to be solved is that of breaking out of the windless present of the postmodern back into real historical time, and a history made by human beings.’

Sternbergh hopes that we have reached ‘peak dystopia’ as he throws out the challenge to his fellow writers: ‘If we can all conjure so many worlds gone wrong, it shouldn’t be beyond our reach to imagine a single world gone right’.

We have only to open our eyes to the horrors facing those currently fleeing their homelands to escape the ravages of war or other types of breakdown, nowadays herded into nightmare camps or willing to board flimsy, overcrowded vessels putting their lives at risk. These are the migrants entering what Frances Stonor Saunders aptly calls ‘death zones, portals to the underworld, where explanations of identity are foreclosed’, adding in her heart-breaking essay ‘Where on Earth Are You?’: ‘I don’t understand the mechanisms by which globalization, with all its hype of mobility and the collapse of distance and terrain, has instead delivered a world of barricades and partition, in which entire populations seem to be living – and dying – in a different history from mine.’

Neo-liberalism has had one remarkable success, despite all its own contradictions and disasters. Its extraordinary victory has been ideological: it has convinced so many that its version of predatory, corporate capitalism is inescapable; that political resistance is inevitable.

Gibson and Graham also mention other alternative economic practices, from gift giving and volunteering to barter and theft, alongside the occupation of public spaces, both for play and for socializing, as well as for nurturing a politics of defiance.

almost all the contemporary utopian theorists I have mentioned, especially Sargent and Levitas, align the concept of utopia not with final goals or end-points, but rather with desire: the collective longing for ‘the improvement of the human condition’, as well as the opening up of spaces ‘for public debate and democratic decision – insisting always on the provisionality, reflexivity and contingency of what we are able to imagine’

Thus, even as neo-liberalism promotes its very own ‘utopian’ fantasy that everyone can succeed in life, despite grossly unequal beginnings, social movements arise determined to reclaim radical public spaces and overcome the personal isolation and misery neo-liberalism spreads in its wake. In our current ominous times, the question remains, to borrow the words of Raymond Williams: how are we to succeed ‘in making hope practical, rather than despair convincing’?

Henry Giroux, when he writes: ‘The growing lack of justice and equity in American society rises proportionately to the lack of political imagination and collective hope’. Clearly, nurturing hope requires paying attention to any and all sites of resistance and alternative practices whenever they arise, while always trying to broaden the space for political education that encourages democratic participation in political life.
politics  feminism  despair  society  utopia  economics  capitalism  psychology 
4 days ago by emmacarlson
In Our Dystopian Times, Why Not Strive for Utopia? (CityLab, 11/1/2019)
Science fiction, especially Blade Runner, has spawned so many dystopias that dystopia itself has become banal. We need a new utopianism that embraces the city.
dystopia  utopia  bladerunner  cities  sciencefiction  dubai  startrek 
13 days ago by davidkoren
More curiosity, collaboration & diversity of perspectives - I have nothing to add to this media ?! Big thank…
utopia  from twitter_favs
19 days ago by sdp
Eleanor Saitta on Twitter: "As technology is deployed at scale and becomes infrastructure, its governance ceases to be engineering or design and becomes (geo)politics." / Twitter
“As technology is deployed at scale and becomes infrastructure, its governance ceases to be engineering or design and becomes (geo)politics.

There are no large technology companies, only non-state actors currently only partially hostile to the goals of the population whose lives they have captured.

This is not a singular accident of the companies we have, but rather a necessary consequence of the programmability of infrastructure enabling scale to convert into social control and a doctrine of continual growth.

The scale of capital involved has bent the entire industry around it. Working at a small company may let you avoid contributing to the problem directly, but programmable infrastructure gains power and scale via interoperability.

As an engineer, a designer, a recruiter, a management coach, a consultant, the geopolitical goals of singular entities will define your work and its meaning.

When infrastructure metastisizes and becomes malignant toward the societies that host it, even maintenance work on functions critical for social continuity becomes in part capitulation and collaboration.

This problem will continue to accelerate until a new model for programmable infrastructure manages to constrain or fight off this current one, or society is unable to sustain programmability.

One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned over the past decade is the degree to which the political intent imbued into infrastrucutral systems maintains its meaning and function over time, even if added layers change the meaning of the conjoined system.

As a worker within these systems, your efforts at work must pay the maintenance penalty for the infrastructural system you sit within; this is balanced by the natural force multiplication of infrastructures of control. Outside work, you don’t have the same tools.

However, even if you work to resist the structural damage of the system you sit inside of, you’re still very likely to see the world from inside the same mental frame — of growth, of control, of “technology” as an end rather than a means.

Even if you can shift your thinking from the mindset of “technology at scale as power over” to “technology as formless servant of a community” — or whatever model you choose — you’ll be stuck with tools that want to create parasitic empires.

I don’t know what the mental model we want is. Some properties seem obvious, though — conviviality, power-to instead of power-over, an inherent orientation toward community, governance blended throughout the stack, a bias toward balance not growth, maintenance-centricity.

The challenges of reimagining our world, our professions, and our systems will consume the rest of our lives on earth; we sit at the culmination of generations of power grabs, and this is only the newest.

On the bright side, there is no larger challenge available, no more interesting and rewarding problem one could work on. This is a future as rich, complex, varied, and broad as any other one you’ve been offered.

And if it fails, well, there will always be another billionaire happy to pay you to help him more efficiently dismantle the society you used to call home.

There are other things we can do even without a new model, though — making the current model of exponential growth and metastic control nonviable is also useful. We need a new vision and a new world, but we also need resistance now.

Refuse to work on dangerous products. Unionize and fight for more control over your own work. Work for regulation that makes user data financially poisonous, that enshrines rights to privacy, self-determination, adversarial interoperability, and repair.

Over the next few decades, we will either learn to collectively manage global systems for the common good, learn to weaponize them for the good of a very small elite, or cease to have a globally-organized civilization.

There is only one fully-connected struggle here, and if we succeed, we will do so in the way we always have — piecemeal, half-assed, squeaking by, more bricolage than grand planning, but profoundly human.

Learn your history, and practice hope. History will teach you how little is novel about our position now, and training the muscle of hope will keep you going through all the dark nights we have to come.“
eleanorsaitta  technology  infrastructure  systems  systemsthinking  systemschange  conviviality  2019  society  power  civilization  governance  unions  organizing  labor  capital  utopia  history  vision  canon  interoperability  time  generations  maintenance  community  control  layering  layers  scale  growth  socialcontrol  deschooling  unschooling  capitulation  geopolitics  politics  policy  local  programmability 
28 days ago by robertogreco
the dark side of techno-utopianism
"the initial effects of the printing press included heightened ethnic tensions, the spread of medical misinformation, and about a century’s worth of European religious wars... [T]his is all a matter of recondite academic debate, until it isn’t. Let’s say it’s 2004 or 2005, and you’re about to start a social-media company. ...If you believe wholeheartedly in the inevitable march of progress—if you have no doubt that any communication tool you bestow upon the masses will be used as a light bulb, not as a weapon—then there will be no countervailing force checking your reckless optimism, not to mention your rapacity."
technology  utopia  authoritarianism 
5 weeks ago by Tisiwoota
When Disney imagineered a $2.5 billion town
In this “Nice Try!” bonus episode, dive into Disney’s utopian design forays from Epcot to Celebration, Florida
Disney  Utopia  Planning  Cities  FL 
6 weeks ago by dbourn
Children’s Republic | Ben Landau
The Children’s Republic asks children to formulate their ideal nation, described with national symbols: flags, an anthem, a constitution and national dress. What rules would there be? What values are important?
australia  children  nationalism  utopia  imaginednation 
7 weeks ago by SteveLambert
Dystopias Now
Kim Stanley Robinson calling for fully automated luxury communism
ksr  kim-stanley-robinson  future  dystopia  writing  utopia  scifi 
august 2019 by jm
The Mental Disorders that Gave Us Modern Architecture
Not loving how autism is considered an inhuman mental disorder instead of just, like, another way the brain can be, but interesting article.
utopia  cities 
august 2019 by rita

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