The Concept of Utopia

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Peter Lang, 2010 - 264 sivua
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The meaning of the term utopia is rarely questioned, although it is used in widely differing ways. This classic text, first published in 1990, analyses the contested concept of utopia and examines how it has been used by commentators and social theorists. It is the only book to concentrate on the meaning of the term utopia, and to demonstrate the variety of ways in which it has been defined, in terms of content, form, and function. The author examines the use of utopia by Marx, Engels, Karl Mannheim, Robert Owen, Georges Sorel, Ernst Bloch, William Morris, and Herbert Marcuse. She defines utopia as the expression in texts and political practice of the desire for a better way of living and argues that utopian desire remains an active element in culture and politics.

"This book, central to the constitution of utopian studies as a field, argues for a structural pluralism in which, according to the social constructions of desire in specific historical periods, the three components of form, content, and function are combined in distinct and historically unique ways."

Professor Fredric Jameson, Department of Comparative Literature, Duke University

"Writing with clarity and grace, Levitas offers a sustained, intelligent, and critical examination of major definitions of utopia, addressing a range of recurring issues that trouble most attempts at definition. This is a strong and significant book, a far-ranging, insightful, and incisive exploration of the concept of utopia."

Professor Peter Stillman, Political Science Department, Vassar College

"Levitas, in her lucid and excellent book, supplies a state-of-the-art discussion of definitional debates in the field of utopian studies. The Concept of Utopia will be of extraordinary value to anyone who teaches utopian thought."

Dr Richard Gunn, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh

"As Levitas acknowledges, the publication date of the first edition of her classic work was inauspicious. Momentous changes were to usher in a near-consensus that we had reached the `end of history' and that capitalism was `the only game in town.' What place could be left for utopia? Twenty years later, how different things look. A neo-liberal capitalist juggernaut is out of control, threatening ecological disaster and offering only global inequalities, dislocations, and conflicts. To the re-emergent claim that `another world is possible' it can be added that another world is necessary. The republication of Levitas's classic work of recovery, analysis, and advocacy of utopia is entirely auspicious." Professor Ted Benton, Department of Sociology, University of Essex
 

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Sisältö

The Emerging Tradition
41
Utopia and Social Change
69
Herbert Marcuse and
151
Retheorising Utopia
207

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Tietoja kirjoittajasta (2010)

The Author: Ruth Levitas is Professor of Sociology at the University of Bristol. She is co-founder and former chair of the Utopian Studies Society (Europe) and vice-chair of the William Morris Society. Her books include The Ideology of the New Right, The Interpretation of Official Statistics (co-edited with Will Guy), The Inclusive Society? Social Exclusion and New Labour, and Poverty and Social Exclusion in Britain (co-edited with Christina Pantazis and David Gordon). Utopia as Method: The Imaginary Reconstitution of Society, the sequel to this book, is forthcoming.

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