Utopianism: A Very Short Introduction

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Sep 23, 2010 - Philosophy - 145 pages
There are many debates about utopia - 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? This Very Short Introduction explores these issues and examines utopianism and its history. Lyman Sargent discusses 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. 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 labelled 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 introduces and summarizes the debates over the utopia in literature, communal studies, social and political theory, and theology. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

Very useful for my purpose, but given that my purpose was 'help me construct a syllabus for a sophomore college class on utopian and dystopian literature,' I'm not sure it'll be useful for your ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Brave New World


1 Good places and bad places
2 Utopian practice
3 Indigenous colonial and postcolonial utopianism
4 Utopianism in other traditions
5 Utopianism in Christian traditions
6 Utopianism and political theory
7 Utopia and ideology
Further reading

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Lyman Sargent is a Fellow of the Stout Research Centre at the Victoria University of Wellington and a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is the primary bibliographer in the field of utopian literature.

Bibliographic information