Coined by Sir Thomas More in the sixteenth century, the word ‘utopia’ is a play on the Greek for no place and good place. But is an ideal society unattainable — or optimal? This edition of Griffith Review visits utopias old and new, near and far, to explore the possibilities and pitfalls of imagining a better future.
From Plato’s Republic to Samuel Butler’s Erewhon, JG Ballard’s High Rise and the failed countercultural dreams of the 1960s, utopian thinking has long influenced how we see the world. Where will it take us next? And do we even want to go there? What do our visions of utopia look like today? How can we disentangle the practical realities from the pipe dreams? What are the dangers of utopianism? How do questions of sustainability, gender equity and economic justice shape our visions of an ideal society, new politics, different ways of life? Can imagination save us in the end?
Griffith Review 73: Hey, Utopia! asks you to consider other ways the world can be — through essays, reportage, creative non-fiction, fiction, memoir, visual essays and poetry.