Understanding Contemporary Society: Theories of the Present is a comprehensive textbook to guide students through the complexities of social theory today. Over 30 chapters, written by an international team of contributors, demonstrate clearly the practical applications of social theory in making sense of the modern world. Students are both introduced to the most significant theories and guided through the major social developments which shape our lives. Key features of the book are: clearly structured and readable prose; bullet pointed summaries and annotated further reading for each topic; makes complex issues accessible to undergraduates; focuses on relevance and practicality; chapter lay-out which is ideal for t

Utopia and Dystopia

Utopia and dystopia


Students of utopianism frequently raise the prospect of the ‘death of utopia’ (see Goodwin and Taylor, 1982: 48; Kumar, 1987: 381; Manuel and Manuel, 1979: 801). Recent commentators generally conclude that utopia is not dead but transformed. In Holloway's (1984: 180) formula, for example, it may have ‘slipped out of the atlas onto the drawing board or into the government white paper’ at some point during the nineteenth century. Those who canvass the possibility of the death of utopia generally maintain that if it came about, some important dimension of our capacity to imagine alternatives to the present social order would be lost. This chapter argues a rather specific version of that case as it bears on the relations between ...

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