What is potent and compelling about utopia has shifted, quite decisively, away from the social blueprint model and toward a more open-ended exploration of desire and change. Fight Club is a significant marker in the development of a utopianism that is dynamic and adaptive, existing in the present of history rather than in a vacuum of idealism. Building on theories of revolution proffered by Slavoj Žižek and Frederic Jameson, I argue that within the novel the body becomes a potential site for exploring difference and creates both an alternative to and a critique of the distorted narrative of dominant society. Bodies that are marked, wounded, scarred, and beaten are bodies in the process of exploring alternatives to an oppressive social world where "completeness" trumps difference. Fight club allows men to fiercely embody revolution and desire and rejuvenate utopia with every punch. I distinguish between the dynamic and subversive nature of fight club and the militaristic and fascist system of Project Mayhem, which displays the values of traditional utopian thinking and as such fails to maintain the liberating and transgressive qualities of fight club.


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pp. 263-280
Launched on MUSE
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