More’s Utopia

Authored by: David Glimp

The Routledge Companion to Imaginary Worlds

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138638914
eBook ISBN: 9781315637525
Adobe ISBN:


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The central assumption informing the following account of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) is this: No equipment, no imaginary worlds. This statement appropriates Bruno Latour’s lapidary formula, offered in Reassembling the Social: “No equipment, no rationality” (Latour, 2005: 210n282). Latour’s point is that thinking about the world depends upon all of the available concepts, tools for measuring, devices for recording, modes of archiving and accessing information, disciplines of knowledge, professional competencies, and institutions structuring and authorizing all the ways knowledge is put into action. This approach to equipment is similar to Paul Rabinow’s emphasis on the array of techniques, competencies, knowledges, modes of expertise, and capacities for action through which humans come to be equipped to do things (Rabinow, 2003: 6–12). Equipment represents all of the machinery—the cognitive capacities; the conceptual resources; the modes of argumentation; the forms of knowledge production; the means of gathering, storing, and accessing information; the pedagogical practices through which subjects are trained to understand and act in the world; the institutional authorities; the technologies and forms of communication; and so forth—that makes it possible to know something, to orient oneself in the world, and to act.

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