Keynote Panel Debate
June 27-30, 2023 I Lund, Sweden
Lund University, AF-Borgen
Utopian and dystopian thinking:
Hope, despair and the shaping of the future
What is the role of utopian and dystopian thinking today? Is there even room for both utopias and dystopias in today’s public discussion? Do we need utopias in order to shape a somewhat brighter future? Or are dystopian imageries necessary in order to understand the seriousness of the wide range of global crises we are facing today?
These and many more questions will be discussed and debated at the keynote panel debate “Utopian and dystopian thinking: Hope, despair and the shaping of the future”. We are delighted to have been able to bring together three wonderful scholars for this debate: Professor Peter Fleming, University of Technology, Sydney (author of The Worst Is Yet To Come: A Post-Capitalist Survival Guide), Professor Sylwia Chrostowska, York University, Toronto (author of Utopia in the Age of Survival: Between Myth and Politics), and Craig Thompson, Wisconsin School of Business as the panel moderator.
Professor, York University
Through my scholarly and literary work, I seek to challenge the idea that we should now be thinking about survival instead of utopia. This spurious thinking opposes what’s left of life to utopianism as luxury. In fact, not only does radical social dreaming not distract us from the worsening conditions of our lives, but nothing short of such dreaming can possibly save us from a dystopian future. Sylvia is author of several books, including Utopia in the Age of Survival: Between Myth and Politics (2021).
Professor, University of Technology
Peter Fleming is Professor at the University of Technology Sydney and has previously held positions at the University of London and University of Cambridge. Peter serves as Senior Editor at Organization Studies and is author of several books, including Sugar Daddy Capitalism (2018) and Dark Academia (2021).
Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Craig is Churchill Professor of Marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Craig’s research addresses the socio-cultural shaping of consumer identities, with an emphasis on social class and gender. He has published in a wide range of marketing, consumer research, and sociological journals. He is co-author of the book The Phenomenology of Everyday Life, and co-editor of Sustainable Lifestyles and the Quest for Plenitude: Case Studies of the New Economy and Consumer Culture Theory.
Thoughts on Utopia/Dystopia
I think society on a global scale has to envision how current developments along multiple fronts—from climate change to overpopulation to advances in AI—could generate dystopian outcomes. The comforting thought is to assume that the natural course of technological progress is to move the world closer to a Utopian state. However, history suggests that Utopian dreams are always plagued by dystopian consequences.