“Transcending Without Transcendence”: Utopianism and an Ethos of Hope



Human geography has recently witnessed an emergent interest in the intertwined problematics of how to be utopian and how to remain hopeful or optimistic. This paper aims to introduce a type of immanent utopianism that follows from a dynamic, open, conception of utopia. It revolves around thinking through how an ethos of hope functions in relation to the multiple problems and tasks of utopia/utopianism. The paper describes how Ernst Bloch re-defined the utopian as a type of process and then outlines a style of immanent utopianism based on an explicit ethos of hope. The result is a sensitivity to matter as utopological, as containing an immanent reference to a not-yet beyond, that obliges us to practice a utopianism that intervenes in the emergence, and change, of something better in a world that takes place “in hazard”. In conclusion the paper argues for a utopic geography based on being, and becoming, hopeful that is itself a response to an ethical imperative to give and find hope in the context of the tragedy and injustice of suffering.