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CALL FOR PAPERS AND VISUAL PROJECTS: 4th Political Imagination Laboratory

The Fourth Political Imagination Laboratory – “Utopias of Sustainability – The Sustainability of Utopias” – will be organised by the University of Perugia, Italy, and take place between 30 September – 01 October 2022.

The deadline for submissions (papers or visual projects): 30 March 2022

The fourth Political Imagination Laboratory core theme will be “Utopias of Sustainability – The Sustainability of Utopias”. As utopias of a better world appear increasingly as ephemeral, precarious and fragile, concepts related to sustainability, the environment and rurality seem at
the forefront of contemporary impulses for social change. Examples include experiments with self-production, new forms of horizontal cooperation, new understandings of rural-urban and nature-culture relations, as well as activism against mega-projects around the world.

While social scientists around the world have appreciated these forms of activism as prefigurative for broader social change, others underline how similar utopian impulses can easily be appropriated by neoliberal logics, e.g., propagated by consulting as management goal and cited by companies as advertising slogan. In particular, some voices interrogate the degree to which sustainability fits into an ethos of post-material renunciation.

The Laboratory asks:

  • Which more or less visible utopian impulses haunt contemporary forms of activism?
  • How are, for example, concepts like sustainability, rurality and nature employed by different actors?
  • To which ideologies and/or utopias are these connected?
  • In which context is and is not sustainability, rurality or ecology invoked?
  • How can discourses and practices of sustainability, rurality, ecology and similar concepts be made visible by ethnographers?

PAPER PRESENTATIONS: Please submit your abstract (max. 300 words) for a paper of about 20 minutes.

VISUAL PROJECTS: Please submit your audio-visual project (completed documentaries or works in progress) with a short description (max. 300 words). In order to stimulate debate, videos of ca. 30 minutes will be preferred; for longer completed documentaries, a short version accompanied by a presentation would be more adequate. Please upload your video to a cloud drive with the link. The abstract should also include your academic affiliation and role.

Please send your contribution to: info(at)

For more information about the event and previous editions, please visit their website.