DOI link for FEMINISM
In the previous chapter I began to suggest and construct an approach to utopianism which I have stated is more appropriate both to contemporary and historical utopianism, and to the ‘now’ of contemporary feminism-more appropriate, that is, than what I have called the ‘standard’ (or colloquial) view of utopianism.1 Many elements of this standard view are retained: utopianism, I have suggested, can be best approached as a political phenomenon, containing political critique and engaged in contemporary debates. I have rejected form as a useful point of approach, but have said that utopian thought is often expressed in such a way as to give it the status (often pejorative) of fiction because it does not claim to be real or true, and also because of its wishful, imaginative and (sometimes) fantastic nature. In making this assertion I have privileged an approach to utopianism that combines consideration of function with that of generic content. Linked to this is the tactic of estrangement that is variously practised by utopian thinkers-the estranged texts of the utopian genre have, I have suggested, various transformative and oppositional functions.2 Further hallmarks of utopian thought are its critical function and, importantly, its creative function. Utopian thought creates a space, previously non-existent and still ‘unreal’, in which radically different speculation can take place, and in which totally new ways of being can be envisaged. In this space transformative thinking can take place, and paradigmatic shifts in approach can be undertaken. A newly formed and informed approach will enable new conceptualization of the phenomenon and significance of utopianism. An important feature of my suggested approach to utopianism is that it does not include reference to perfection; or rather,
it sees the authors attitude to perfection as important. An imperfect utopia is still a utopia, and its very imperfection tells us something important about the politics and approach of its author(s).