The Politics of Utopia: A Study in Theory and Practice

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Peter Lang, 2009 - Political Science - 325 pages
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This book provides both an introduction to utopianism and a general perspective on radical political thought. Vigorously disputing the widespread conviction that utopianism is a fantasy with no relevance to modern political life and thought, the authors argue that it is a concept whose special virtue lies in its capacity to transcend the limitations of present circumstances, to inspire alternative thinking and to open up new directions for political action. This book develops an approach which relates social causes to political theory and practice. The first part discusses utopianism as a form of political theory with unique characteristics and the ability to transcend the present. The second part considers utopianism as an expression of fundamental social impulses and as an ingredient of modern political movements. The third part offers a defence of utopianism as both theory and practice, and argues for its use to counteract the pragmatism and narrow empiricism which often passes for political realism in modern societies. This reissue of a popular and well-received landmark text contains a new preface.
 

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Contents

Taking Utopianism Seriously
3
chapter Z Taxonomy and Anatomy
31
Ideology Science or Symbol?
69
Utopias Enemies
93
Utopia and Political Practice
121
The Social Origins of the Utopian Impulse
123
Movements for Utopia 1
149
Movements for Utopia 2
173
Communitarianism and its Legacy
195
In Defence of Utopia
223
Is Utopia Really Necessary?
225
Notes
283
Bibliography
303
Index
317
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About the author (2009)

The Authors: Barbara Goodwin is Professor of Politics at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. Her publications include Social Science and Utopia (1978), Ethics at Work (2000), Justice by Lottery (2005) and Using Political Ideas (2007); she also edited a collection of essays, The Philosophy of Utopia (2001).
Keith Taylor, who died in 2006, taught at Coventry Polytechnic and Westminster University. His books include the translation of writings by the early French socialist Saint-Simon, Henri Saint-Simon, Selected Writings on Science, Industry and Social Organisation (1975), and The Political Ideas of the Utopian Socialists (1981).

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