Utopian Studies 19 (2):233-264 (2008)

Michael Jenson
University of Colorado Denver
A recurrent misconception about the concept of utopia fails to realize fully that its essential endeavor constitutes a speculative act involving the distribution of power and resources. Consequently, utopian desire is closely linked to structures of power and can be manipulated by interests in positions of influence within these structures. It is these connections to the machinations of power that bring utopian visions their potential for social/political influence. However, these same types of links also provide avenues for these conceptions to be cynically influenced in ways that can usurp individual autonomy. The role of power and utopia can be analyzed in the formative process of a specific social structure as well as in their contribution to the conception of a common heritage or history. The " historical perspective" often serves as the foundation for the production of propaganda seeking to capture the imagination of a populace either to instigate positive social change or to legitimize an oppressive regime. Through the lens of Collingwood's philosophy of history, this article investigates the connection that the " historical consciousness" has to the attributes of power and utopia as well as the role that this relationship plays in the formation of a collective mentality. In short, it studies the essential characteristics of the bond between individuals that allows a community or collective to perpetuate itself. It also explores how the attributes of power and utopia can use latent historical perceptions to strengthen the process of ideological integration that underlies any social action or formal structure of authority.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 53,047
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Pragmatism, Utopia and Anti-Utopia.Ruth Levitas - 2008 - Critical Horizons 9 (1):42-59.
Power and Formation: New Foundations for a Radical Concept of Power.David West - 1987 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 30 (1 & 2):137 – 154.
Methodological Peculiarities of History in Light of Idealizational Theory of Science.Krzysztof Brzechczyn - 2009 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 97 (1):137-157.
Power and Social Ontology.Åsa Andersson - 2007 - Lund: Bokbox Publications.
Redeeming Redemption: The Utopian Dimension of Critical Social Theory.Maeve Cooke - 2004 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 30 (4):413-429.
The Technological Construction of Social Power.Philip Brey - 2008 - Social Epistemology 22 (1):71 – 95.
The Hierarchical Abuse of Power in Work Organizations.Donald Vredenburgh & Yael Brender - 1998 - Journal of Business Ethics 17 (12):1337-1347.
A Global Tradition? Power and Historicity.Krzysztof Ziarek - 2004 - Research in Phenomenology 34 (1):103-120.
Rational Authority and Social Power: Towards a Truly Social Epistemology.Miranda Fricker - 1998 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (2):159–177.


Added to PP index

Total views
17 ( #564,854 of 2,344,287 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #513,994 of 2,344,287 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes