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The Concept of Utopia

Student edition


Ruth Levitas

In this highly influential book, Ruth Levitas provides an excellent introduction to the meaning and importance of the concept of utopia, and explores a wealth of material drawn from literature and social theory to illustrate its rich history and analytical versatility. Situating utopia within the dynamics of the modern imagination, she examines the ways in which it has been used by some of the leading thinkers of modernity: Marx, Engels, Karl Mannheim, Robert Owen, Georges Sorel, Ernst Bloch, William Morris, and Herbert Marcuse. Utopia remains the most potent secular concept for imagining and producing a ‘better world’, and this classic text will be invaluable to students across a wide range of disciplines.


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Notes 231


Future Perfect: Retheorising Utopia 231 of utopia depend upon hope, upon not only wishful thinking but will-full action. The presence of hope affects the nature of utopian expression; but while utopia may keep alive the sense that the here and now is unsatisfac- tory, and can contribute to the belief that it might be otherwise, it is not the source of hope. If utopia is not to remain ‘draped in black’, that hope must be recovered – the hope that we may collectively build a world of peace, justice, cooperation and equality in which human creativity can find its full expression. The dream becomes vision only when hope is invested in an agency capable of transformation. The political problem remains the search for that agency and the possibility of hope; and only if we find it will we see our dreams come true. Notes Preface 1. Francis Fukuyama (1989), ‘The end of history’, The National Interest, 16, p. 4. See also Francis Fukuyama (1993) The End of History and the Last Man (Penguin: London). 2. David Harvey (2000), Spaces of Hope (Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh) Introduction. 3. The Millennium Development goals are listed at . 4. Theodor Adorno (1978), Minima Moralia (Verso: London), p. 156. 5. Nicholas Stern (2007), The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge). 6. David Harvey (2003), The New Imperialism (Oxford University Press: Oxford). 7. René Dumont (1975), Utopia or Else (Universe Publishers: New York). 8. Patrick Hayden and Chamsy el-Ojeili (2008), Globalisation and...

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