For the past yet to come: Utopian conceptions of time and becoming

Article


Firth, R. and Robinson, Andrew 2013. For the past yet to come: Utopian conceptions of time and becoming. Time & Society.
AuthorsFirth, R. and Robinson, Andrew
Abstract

This article examines a number of critical-theoretical, utopian alternatives to the dominant temporal conception of ‘homogeneous empty time’. It explores the ways in which difference is theorized within the field of time, and the ways in which relations to the past and future can be constructed non-sequentially. It focuses on four related theories. Nietzsche’s theory of eternal return is shown to be inspired by a critique of backward-looking views of time and an orientation to an abundance of the present. Benjamin’s theory of messianic time combines the immediacy of ‘now-time’ with a non-successive connection to past and future times. Deleuze’s Bergsonian view of time suggests the simultaneity of the past with the present, and the possibility of constructing connections between different zones of time and actualizing these zones in the present. Agamben’s theory of temporal play focuses on immediacy, the redemption of the past, and the abandonment of the mastery of history. Each of these theories is discussed in terms of its own conception of time, its difference from dominant conceptions of time, and its relationship to utopia. While offering four distinct alternatives, the theorists all critique alienated and objectivist views of time, and offer different varieties of temporal rhizomatics and polyphony. The juxtaposition of these theories provides the underpinnings for temporal utopianism as a new field of study. The idea of temporal utopianism demonstrates that utopia can be a temporal as well as a spatial phenomenon, and that the experience of time characteristic of capitalist modernity is contingent rather than necessary. It thus points towards a rupture with the sense of closure generated by dominant conceptions of time, creating temporal zones in which utopian spaces can be actualized.

JournalTime & Society
ISSN1461-7463
0961-463X
Year2013
PublisherSAGE
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0961463X13482881
Publication dates
Print21 May 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Jun 2013
Permalink -

https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/85x2q

  • 8
    total views
  • 71
    total downloads
  • 3
    views this month
  • 10
    downloads this month

Related outputs

Critical Cartography
Firth, R. 2015. Critical Cartography. The Occupied Times of London.
Utopian Politics: Citizenship and Practice
Firth, R. 2011. Utopian Politics: Citizenship and Practice. Abingdon, Oxon and New York, NY Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
Evaluation of a non-statutory ‘Place of Calm’, a service which provides support after a suicidal crisis to inform future commissioning intentions
Briggs, S., Finch, J. and Firth, R. 2016. Evaluation of a non-statutory ‘Place of Calm’, a service which provides support after a suicidal crisis to inform future commissioning intentions. Cass School of Education and Communities, University of East London.
From the Unlearned Un-Man to a Pedagogy without Moulding: Stirner, consciousness raising, and the production of difference
Firth, R. and Robinson, A. 2017. From the Unlearned Un-Man to a Pedagogy without Moulding: Stirner, consciousness raising, and the production of difference. in: Haworth, Robert and Elmore, John M. (ed.) 'Out of the Ruins’: The Emergence of New Radical Informal Learning Spaces Oakland, CA, USA PM Press. pp. 56-73
Monsters Take to the Streets! Monstrous Street-Art as Pedagogy of Resistance to Post-Olympic Regeneration in Hackney Wick?
Firth, R. 2016. Monsters Take to the Streets! Monstrous Street-Art as Pedagogy of Resistance to Post-Olympic Regeneration in Hackney Wick? in: Munteán, László and Post, Hans Christian (ed.) Landscapes of Monstrosity Inter-Discipinary Press.
Future(s) Perfect: uchronian mapping as a research and visualisation tool in the fringes of the Olympic Park
Firth, R., Ferrei, Mara and Lang, Andreas 2016. Future(s) Perfect: uchronian mapping as a research and visualisation tool in the fringes of the Olympic Park. Livingmaps Review. 1 (1).
For a Revival of Feminist Consciousness Raising: Horizontal Transformation of Epistemologies and Transgression of Neoliberal TimeSpace
Firth, R. 2016. For a Revival of Feminist Consciousness Raising: Horizontal Transformation of Epistemologies and Transgression of Neoliberal TimeSpace. Gender and Education. 28 (3), pp. 343-358.
Somatic pedagogies: Critiquing and resisting the affective discourse of the neoliberal state from an embodied anarchist perspective.
Firth, R. 2016. Somatic pedagogies: Critiquing and resisting the affective discourse of the neoliberal state from an embodied anarchist perspective. Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization. 16 (4), pp. 121-142.
Critical cartography as anarchist pedagogy? Ideas for praxis inspired by the 56a infoshop map archive
Firth, R. 2014. Critical cartography as anarchist pedagogy? Ideas for praxis inspired by the 56a infoshop map archive. Interface : a journal for and about social movements. 16 (1), pp. 156-184.
Toward a Critical Utopian and Pedagogical Methodology
Firth, R. 2013. Toward a Critical Utopian and Pedagogical Methodology. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies. 35 (4), pp. 256-276.
TRANSGRESSING URBAN UTOPANISM: AUTONOMY AND ACTIVE DESIRE
Firth, R. 2012. TRANSGRESSING URBAN UTOPANISM: AUTONOMY AND ACTIVE DESIRE. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography. 94 (2), pp. 89-106.