Even though utopias are potentially dangerous, we nonetheless need utopian visions. Loss of hope and utopia means loss of humanity. But how can we stop utopia turning into dystopia? Utopia thought of in terms of perfection, purity and exclusivity imposes its version of a better life as the only possible one. On the other hand the utopianism of opposition does not seek perfection, or removal of opportunities for evolution. Its goal is progress and not repression of human beings. It is (...) not utopianism that is at fault, the problem arises rather from the conviction that a particular utopia can bring about the only correct way to live. (shrink)
You can’t have good sex unless you’ve gotten a reasonable degree of social justice.Utopias and dystopias cover almost every imaginable subject, and Utopian scholars have discussed many of them, but while gender and gender relations have been considered at length, sex and sexual relations have not.1 And we would like to know what sex and sexual relations will be like in utopias and dystopias. Of course, the simple answer for eutopias—a lot of whatever we like best—and for dystopias—none of whatever (...) we particularly dislike—are flawed because we have been socialized in a bad society and utopian and dystopian relationships may be very different, although our guess is that dystopia may be closer to the here and now .. (shrink)
For Ernst Bloch daydreams are one of the most basic sources of utopianism,1 which I have called “social dreaming.”2 While our sleeping dreams are mostly outside our control, daydreams tend to be about something we lack, such as control over our own lives, food, sex, and so forth. And there is a version of such daydreams, mostly identified with the Middle Ages, called the Cockaigne, or cokaygne,3 that is directly concerned with food, with Herman Pleij writing that “Cockaigne is first (...) and foremost about eating.”4 In some versions sex is also a secondary motif, as in the English version where a convent is close to a monastery and the young monks and the young nuns regularly get together.There are, though, some.. (shrink)
In popular usage both ideology and utopia have negative, and somewhat similar, connotations. Utopia is thought to imply something naively idealistic and, as a result, impossible to achieve due to the constraints of the ‘real world’ or because ‘human nature’ will get in the way. Ideology is also thought to imply being out of touch with the ‘real world’ by being blinkered by a set of beliefs that distorts one’s understanding of that ‘real world’. This chapter examines the recent history (...) of the relationship between the two concepts by examining the way they are treated by their best known theorists, Ernst Bloch, Michael Freeden, Fredric Jameson, Ruth Levitas, Karl Mannheim, and Paul Ricoeur. The chapter argues that while they are closely related and one can become the other, they can also be separated because they reflect different ways of understanding the world. (shrink)
If we are dissatisfied with our situation in life, we often dream of how our life could be improved. Most basically, we want a full stomach, decent clothing and housing, and a sense of security, and millions of people in the world today do not now have these things. Throughout American history, African Americans were kept from achieving this most basic decent life, let alone the more complex needs that become possible for those who fulfill the first needs. All the (...) elements of this fundamental vision are included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted in 1948 but was not ratified by the United States until 1992. Among the rights included in the Universal Declaration are Article 4. No one... (shrink)
In 1888 Edward Bellamy, a moderately successful journalist and novelist, produced Looking Backward, a eutopian novel that not only transformed his life but directly or indirectly affected the lives of many millions of people in all parts of the world and inspired hundreds of imitators, commentators, and critics to respond to Looking Backward or to write utopian novels in many languages.1 In addition, movements were started to attempt to put Bellamy’s ideas into practice,2 and at least one intentional community was (...) founded supposedly based his ideas, even though he opposed such experiments.3 Bellamy, a shy man in poor health, suddenly found himself a major leader for reform, and he gave himself wholly to... (shrink)
Five hundred years after it was published, there is still no agreement on how to interpret Thomas More’s Utopia, and there are also fundamental disagreements about the way we think about the entire utopian genre. Therefore, some reflections on both Utopia and the genre seem appropriate. Utopia is a complex book that was initially published in Latin, with editions in German in 1524, Italian in 1548, English in 1551, Dutch in 1553, and French in 1559. Utopia has been read, interpreted, (...) and argued about ever since. An obvious problem for contemporary readers is that Utopia is full of wordplay, which would have been obvious to those who read the Latin original but which has most often been ignored by translators, which... (shrink)
Calvin Blanchard (1808–1868) was a prolific, albeit repetitive, author, publisher, and printer who was identified by L. L. and Jessie Bernard as an early American sociologist who helped introduce Americans to Auguste Comte. The Bernards also said that Blanchard was mentally ill.1 The Bernards’ discussion of Blanchard is the only recognition of Blanchard that predates the reprinting of one of his novels, The Art of Real Pleasure (1864), in Arthur O. Lewis’s 1971 American Utopian Literature set of forty-two volumes. The (...) Bernards’ discussion is also unusual in that it includes works in addition to The Art of Real Pleasure, and it is one of two that, while disparaging him, take him somewhat seriously. The other work .. (shrink)
Although the title Dreamstreets and the use of the word utopias in the subtitle strongly suggest a focus on the utopian, there are only a few references to utopia in the book, which is about the author’s responses to some of the model villages established in Britain in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The author says that there were about four hundred such villages, and she has visited many I have not visited and know little about; she is particularly (...) good on some of the less well-known model towns. While the table of contents suggests that she visited ten of them, she discusses quite a few more, all of which she has visited.I found the discussion of New Lanark (which is one of those not in the table... (shrink)
While, as the author notes, working class was not used until 1790, the book begins in the sixteenth century. And while there are no direct references to utopias or utopianism, there are a number of themes and topics discussed in the book that are related to utopianism and the way gardens and gardening have appeared in utopias. And gardens and gardening have been important in utopias from the very beginning.1 Gardens, for example, are central to life in More’s Utopia and (...) were the only area of life in which competition was not merely allowed but encouraged, albeit among areas not individuals. Margaret Willes mentions More only in connection with his critique of the enclosure movement, being... (shrink)
This book is a study of three intentional communities established with government support in the 1890s in Queensland, Australia. All three were short-lived, and as the title suggests, although there is considerable information on the communities, the focus of the book is on the settlers rather than on the communities. In fact, and extremely unusual in studies of intentional communities, there are extensive biographical dictionaries on the members of all three communities. And these dictionaries include information on the men involved (...) from before they joined to after they left, with, as available, information on their wife or wives and their children, in some cases to the near present. As is to be expected, much... (shrink)
This Oxford Handbook will be the definitive study of political ideologies for years to come. The diversity of ideology studies is represented by a mixture of the range of theories that illuminate the field, combined with an appreciation of the changing complexity of concrete ideologies and the emergence of new ones.
This is the first comprehensive volume to offer a state of the art investigation both of the nature of political ideologies and of their main manifestations. The diversity of ideology studies is represented by a mixture of the range of theories that illuminate the field, combined with an appreciation of the changing complexity of concrete ideologies and the emergence of new ones. Ideologies, however, are always with us.
There are many debates about what constitutes a utopia. Are utopias benign or dangerous? Is the idea of utopianism essential to Christianity or heretical? What is the relationship between utopia and ideology? In this Very Short Introduction, Lyman Sargent, one of the leading scholars in the field of utopian studies, explores these issues and examines utopianism and its history, discussing the role of utopianism in literature and in the development of colonies and in immigration. The idea of utopia has become (...) commonplace in social and political thought, both negatively and positively. Sargent notes that some thinkers see a trajectory from utopia to totalitarianism, with violence an inevitable part of the mix. Others see utopia directly connected to freedom and as a necessary element in the fight against totalitarianism. In Christianity, utopia is labeled as both heretical and as a fundamental part of Christian belief, and such debates are also central to such fields as architecture, town and city planning, and sociology among many others. Sargent addresses all these issues in this clear, compact introduction. (shrink)