Worlding /Definition – Scope



You won’t find the term Worlding in any dictionary, even though the term has been in use for nearly a century. Martin Heidegger popularized the neologism in his 1927 Being and Time to mean “being-in-the-world.” The idea was to use a verb signifying something ongoing and generative, which could not be reduced to either a philosophical state or a scientific materiality. Since then “worlding” has appeared dozens of times in philosophy, politics, cultural studies, and technology studies.  The word has been appropriated, contested, but never quite pinned down––and so remains a floating signifier. Linguists have taught us that terms like “worlding” work less as fixed essences than as mediators of differences among the utterances and concepts around them.   But this undetermined character hardly makes “worlding” innocent, deriving as it does from a noun referencing concepts of origins, boundaries, ethnicities, governance, and even consciousness itself.
WORLDING.ORG provides commentary, dialogue, and resources on “worlding” as a contested idea in politics, culture, and technology.
Many of us think about a better world. But opinions may vary over how to get there, and especially about what “there” we want. The imagination and realization of worlds has become a driving force in both “real” and ”virtual” environments, with both negative and positive consequences. Worlding can be selfless or selfish. It can reinforce what exists or point to something else. But it can never be neutral. Historically critiqued as a colonializing device, the term worlding now also is regarded as a utopian strategy. It is to this latter impulse that directs itself. The desire for something not-yet-achieved drives most people in individual or collective terms. We invite anyone to join this conversation in the spirit of open dialogue and a spirited exchange of opinion. is about the utopian imagination in uncertain times.
Contact: DAVID TREND. Professor and Chair, Department of Art, University of California, Irvine.



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