Utopian Studies 33 (1):144-160 (2022)

ABSTRACT This article considers the relationship between modern classical liberalism and utopian theory. The main question we address is: How have key liberal theorists over the past century received utopian visions of the economy, politics, and society? The development of liberalism is commonly associated with strident anti-utopianism, a perception contraindicated by more recent developments in political economy and philosophy. Accommodative liberal engagements with utopia are evident within philosophical discussions addressing the significance of group diversity within free societies, and of maintaining social accord among peoples with divergent beliefs, practices, and other modes of living. This development aligns with a revitalized liberal political economy emphasis upon experimentation and process, which appears congruent with similar tendencies in utopian theory over recent decades. Even liberal critics of utopia, such as Friedrich Hayek, described their own grounded visions of either utopian society, or of piecemeal reforms in a utopian direction. In this article it is argued feasible intellectual opportunities do exist to reconcile liberal theory and utopian conceptions.
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DOI 10.5325/utopianstudies.33.1.0144
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