conflict & communication online, Vol. 20, No. 2, 2021
ISSN 1618-0747







The fundamental philosophical questions of Bloch’s The Principle of Hope have lost none of their topicality 60 years after the book’s first publication: Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? What do we expect and what are we to expect? If we are not to resign ourselves to what is, it is crucial that we ‘learn to hope’ and actively engage with what comes to be. The principle of constant becoming reveals that nothing is more human than to transgress what is. The shift from the (apparently) indifferent observer to the involved agent requires both reflection upon our own perspective and a critique of the status quo. Bloch calls for uncompromising active resistance by human social reason, but to what extent is such resistance possible on an individual, collective or institutional level? The microphysics of everyday life, which Bloch explores in many of his writings, correlates with his work on concrete utopias. In this context, the fundamental category of ‘not yet’ suggests both things we are not conscious of, and ones which do not yet exist. This central concern with the ‘substance’ of utopia prompts intriguing questions with regard to political education, literature and artistic practice: To what extent can resistance be considered utopian in the meaning of things we are not yet conscious of, or that do not yet exist? What are the utopian implications of resistance? How does it manifest itself, and are there currents in present-day societies that are particularly prone to foster resistance? What is the educational relevance of (political) music, literature, art, and how can the arts encourage resistance? What (other) aspects of Bloch’s theories can be applied to critical educational research and practice?

The present special issue brings together articles submitted in response to the call for papers for the First Salzburg Ernst Bloch Symposium “Utopia and Resistance. Ideological Critique Political Music Education”. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the conference could not be held as planned.

Art – Ideology Critique – Utopia

Reinke Schwinning draws on Bloch’s philosophy of music to examine Bertolt Brecht’s and Kurt Weill’s Dreigroschenoper (Beggars’ Opera or Three Penny Opera) in terms of its potential to convey revolutionary Marxist ideas.
The ties between art, education and politics are explored in Werner Michler’s reading of Bloch’s neglected text “Die Zauberflöte und Symbole von heute” (1930) (“The Magic Flute and Contemporary Symbols”), both in the political context of its first publication and with regard to integrating Bloch's ideas into current discourses and practices of cultural and social sciences.
Following the attempt to classify Bloch in terms of ideological theory, Manuel Theophil uses his concept of indirect objectivity to sound out the ideological-critical potential of literary texts.
Lina Uzukauskaite studies Ingeborg Bachmann’s aesthetics in terms of Bloch᾽s idea of utopia and inquires into its epistemological and pedagogical implications.
Katrin Ackerl Konstantin offers insight into herartistic research project “Mapping the Unseen” and shows how performative and participatory strategies were employed to render LGBTIQ themes visible.

Education – Hope – Change

Proceeding from a critique of neo-liberal educational policies, Solvejg Jobst explores the potential of Bloch’s philosophy of hope to re-conceptualize education in praxeological terms, i.e., in terms of its power to change society.
Robert Schneider-Reisinger engages with Bloch’s Marxist philosophy to critically develop current and topical strategies of inclusive pedagogy. 
The international study “Futures Literacy Children’s Crisis Narrations as Spaces of Utopias of Solidarity” employs the method of youth writing to gain insight into children’s lives and perspectives of home schooling during the Corona crisis. The present data were evaluated in two phases: the contributions of Wassilios Baros, Ulrike Greiner, Aida Delic, and Mishela Ivanova present the results of a quantitative-qualitative content analysis by way of latent class analysis (LCA). Subsequently, Ulrike Greiner, Wassilios Baros, Herlinde Aichner and Paraskevi Fanarioti offer an exemplary analysis of individual pupils’ texts based on an objective hermeneutic.


In his essay closing this special issue, Volker Schneider assumes that our dealings with nature on this planet and our social and economic systems urgently call for change and resistance.  Bloch’s “Neue Mathesis” (“New Mathesis”) provides the framework for radically new thinking that empowers the individual to actively resist destruction.

Salzburg, October 2021

Ricarda Gugg, Wassilios Baros, Heinz Sünker & Sabine Coelsch-Foisner

The guest editors: Ricarda Gugg, MA, is university assistant and PhD-student at Paris-Lodron University Salzburg, Department of Educational Science. Her research interests are educational migration research, (political) educational research, value discourses in migration societies, educational theory and philosophy.

Wassilios Baros is Full Professor of education research at Paris-Lodron University Salzburg and directs the Project Group Empirical Migration Research (PREMISA). His research interests include educational research relating to migration politics, latent style analysis of communication cultures and recipient research.

Heinz Sünker is Rudolf-Carnap-Senior-Professor at the University of Wuppertal, where he served as Full Professor of social pedagogy and social politics. He studied German, protestant theology, philosophy and educational science at the Universities of Münster and Heidelberg. He was Fellow of the “Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst” and obtained his doctorate and his habilitation (with a work on Western Marxism) from the University of Bielefeld. His research areas include critical theory, educational theory and education research, theory and history of social work, childhood research, National Socialism and resistance. 

Sabine Coelsch-Foisner is Full Professor of English literature and cultural theory at Salzburg University, where she served as head of the English Department, the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Metamorphic Changes in the Arts, and the Arts & Aesthetics program. She currently directs the PhD program on  Cultural Production Dynamics, the Austrian Research Network Cultural Dynamics at the ÖFG, and the third-mission program Atelier Gespräche, founded by her in collaboration with various cultural institutions.  Her research interests are: English literature, cultural theory and productions, theater, poetry, the fantastic, aesthetics and history of ideas.

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