The Imaginary Reconstitution of Society: Ruth Levitas and Utopia as Social Theory

Francesca Pannozzo


The essay aims to disclose British sociologist Ruth Levitas’s proposal regarding the thorny issue of the lack of consensus about the definition of the concept of utopia, a issue which, in the Levitas’s view, results in a widespread terminological confusion and in the omnipresent risk of arbitrary selection of the material. After an accurate analysis of the main theoretical and epistemological approaches on the topic, Levitas suggests an inclusive definition which would allow to cross the boundaries imposed by «restrictive» characterizations, for the purpose of creating a higher degree of agreement with regards to what may be included within the concept of "utopia". Too «limitative» definitions would instead lead to misleading conclusions about the destiny and the function of the utopian genre, among which the widespread belief that utopia is in decline or, even worse, definitively disappeared. Finally, Levitas suggests a «sociology of utopia» through an analysis of the correlations between the two form of knowledge, correlations which, in her view, has been repressed for decades.



Utopia; Levitas; Social Theory; Desire; Kumar

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1825-9618/7101


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