Contradiction and Radical Hope: Utopia as Method in the Lived Experience of Love

Catherine Vulliamy


In this article, I explore the contradictions, tensions and hopefulness of love. Participants in my research shared accounts of love that acknowledged the anguish, loss and pain of love in uneven political worlds marked by patriarchal power structures and heteronormative assumption. At the same time as confronting the difficulty of negotiating love in this context, the accounts continued to express a determined sense of hope about love. I employ a dialectical approach in order to apprehend the paradoxes and tensions inherent to the lived experience of love. As I investigate the meanings and implications of both the contradictions of love, and the hope in love’s potential to transform, I use Ruth Levitas’ concept of utopia as method to show how the radical hope of love emerges directly from the contradictions of love as a means of imagining and creating new social worlds.

Full Text: PDF