Cite as: Martin Doll, ‘The Topoi of Utopia: A Topology of Political Tensions’, in Tension/​Spannung, ed. by Christoph F. E. Holzhey, Cultural Inquiry, 1 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2010), pp. 207–26 <>

The Topoi of UtopiaA Topology of Political TensionsMartin Doll


Writing a positive account of utopias has always been a difficult and risky task. Utopias have always already been out of fashion and outside of time. Since 1989 at the latest, visions of utopia appear to have come to an end. Twenty years after Fukayama’s ‘end of history’, this article re-assesses the potentially fruitful roles for utopia’s out-of-timeness. Focusing on the critical potential of utopias through the concept of tension, it argues that utopian thought must be conceptualized through its tensile connections both to the status quo of a given society and to its possible futures.

atopos, Engels, Marx, eutopos, outopos, Robert Owen, utopia