Utopian Materialities

Torben Elgaard-Jensen

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In various ways, this paper makes the counter-intuitive claim that the utopian and the material are thoroughlyinterdependent, rather than worlds apart. First, through a reading of Thomas More's Utopia, it is argued thatUtopia is the product of particular kinds of relations, rather than merely a detachment from the known world.Second, the utopianism of a new economy firm is examined. It is argued that the physical set-up of the firm -in particular the distribution of tables and chairs - evoke a number of alternatives to ordinary work practice.In this way the materialities of the firm are crucial to its persuasive image of being the office of the future.The notion that utopia is achieved through material arrangements is finally related to the analysis of facts andfictions in ANT. It is argued, that even though Utopias are neither fact nor fiction, they are both material andeffective on the configuration of networks; Where facts tend to stabilise the network by `holding' others,Utopias tend to `push' the network by evoking the possibility of others.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)x645152314
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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