The Map of the World and the Coffin of Utopia
Patrice Vermeren opens up the notion of utopia in this chapter, as he traces its development across several centuries. Vermeren contrasts the idea of eternal utopia with that of persistent utopia. Eternal utopia, Vermeren argues, relegates us to a specific place on the “map of the world” and, in this sense, functions as a “coffin.” This notion of utopia is totalitarian. Persistent utopia, on the other hand, is a concept created by Abensour, who is inspired by the new utopian spirit of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Vermeren suggests that utopia in this sense allows us to rethink the coordinates of the world. It suggests a path of emancipation from the liberal project of modern democracies.