Fictive Theories

Toward a Deconstructive and Utopian Political Imagination

  • Authors
  • Susan McManus

Part of the Studies in European Culture and History book series (SECH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Introduction

    1. Susan McManus
      Pages 1-15
  3. Speculative Beginnings

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Susan McManus
      Pages 19-35
    3. Susan McManus
      Pages 37-56
  4. Fictions of Self-Evidence

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 75-75
    2. Susan McManus
      Pages 103-143
  5. Fabricating the Future

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 171-227

About this book


Fictive Theories is a significant and innovative intervention in key debates in political theory concerning the ways theory should be philosophically grounded, and the task that political theory should set itself. Susan McManus argues that political theory has been grounded in controlling fictions (from fictions of human nature, to morals laws) that function to close possibility. Starting by interrogating the often hidden work of fictions in political theories, she argues that all theorizing is a form of world-creating. Rather than hiding the fictions at work in political theory, McManus argues that theory should become self-consciously fictive, and that there are political and ethical advantages to so doing. She then develops a uniquely deconstructive and utopian understanding of the project of political theory grounded in the 'fictive': a creative and future-oriented imagination. Rather than seeking to provide blueprints of how a polity should be organized, fictive theories seek to fabricate futures through the anticipatory articulation of possibility. Drawing on a rich range of thinkers from the traditions of political theory (Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant), deconstructive theory (Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida) and utopian studies (Ernst Bloch), this book will be of interest to researchers, teachers and students in the fields of political theory, utopian studies, literary theory and cultural studies.


imagination Immanuel Kant intervention Jacques Derrida Jean-Jacques Rousseau Karl Marx knowledge morality political theory politics Roland Barthes Rousseau Thomas Hobbes understanding work

Bibliographic information