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      Plasticity, the Genetics of Difference, and the Repair of Utopia

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          Abstract

          In this article, I propose theorizing imaginaries of futurity—rather than ‘imaginaries of the future’—in terms of what the French philosopher Catherine Malabou calls plasticity. Since her earliest work on Hegel, Heidegger and plasticity, Malabou has continued to develop concepts of ‘positive plasticity’ (the giving of form) and ‘negative plasticity’ (the receiving of form) that adhere, she claims, to the generativity of Life itself. In contrast to Fredric Jameson, Malabou’s present is vital, with the potential at any and every moment for ‘breaking free’ from pre-conceived onto-epistemological constructs. Her work on plasticity locates the vitality of history in the ‘strange critical entity, at once philosophical, scientific, and political, that would be a consciousness of the brain’ (2008: 2). This statement grounds a new concept of utopia as plasticity. In defining the contribution of Malabou’s investigation to identifying a utopian imaginary as plasticity, I revisit Darko Suvin’s well-known notion of the novum, which he develops from the work of Ernst Bloch. The novum names a figuration of radical difference, and Suvin maintains its role as the ‘breaking-free’ that structures difference in, and as, utopia.

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          Future City

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            The Politics of Utopia

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              The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality, Dialectic

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                03 August 2018
                2018
                : 4
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]The Pennsylvania State University, US
                Article
                10.16995/olh.124
                Copyright: © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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                Self URI (journal-page): https://olh.openlibhums.org/
                Categories
                Imaginaries of the future 01: bodies and media

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