Theory, Culture & Society Dystopian Times? The Impact of the Death of Progress on Utopian Thinking
Ruth Levitas Theory Culture Society 1982; 1; 53 DOI: 10.1177/026327648200100106 The online version of this article can be found at:

Published by:

On behalf of:
The TCS Centre, Nottingham Trent University

Additional services and information for Theory, Culture & Society can be found at: Email Alerts: Subscriptions: Reprints: Permissions:

Downloaded from by Omar Pérez on August 29, 2008 © 1982 Theory, Culture & Society Ltd.. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.

complained of a crisis in the provision of such images. and Polak (1973) in The Image of the Future.. utopias are simply different. that is. they had passed through a number of stages. p 9) talking about futuristic fiction.sagepub. if at all. where Winstanley invoked not only Divine Intervention to transform the world. Indeed it is precisely because utopias were seen by Mannheim. It seems to me that this apparent dearth of utopias exists only in so far as people have been looking for the wrong sort of thing: the view of utopia as a future state whose image acts as a catalyst of social change has linked utopia too closely to the process In of deliberate social transformation. and consequently obscured the fact that this relationship is itself the product of a very specific set of social conditions. as in the Land of Cockaygne. 53 . but appealed to Cromwell to implement the blueprint of a new society outlined in The Law of Freedom. both in content and in possible social role.Dystopian Times? The Impact of the Death of Progress on Utopian Thinking Ruth Levitas In this paper I shall explore the connections between images of utopia and the social conditions which give rise to them . I shall also be concerned with associated issues of how. Yet before utopias came to be located in the future as ideal states to be striven for. All rights reserved. Mannheim (1936) in Ideology and Utopia. if given a location at all were given one elsewhere in space. Parrinder in unwittingly very good time for them’. which. as in the millenarian fringes of the Peasants’ Revolt. it is imagined these images of utopia are to be translated into reality. Utopia took on the role of a catalyst of social change only as society appeared to be increasingly malleable and open to human control and it is perceptions rather than actualities that are crucial by Omar Pérez on August 29. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. then the transition involved Divine intervention. so does Bauman (1976) in Socialism: The Active Utopia. and that under other circumstances. Culture & Society Ltd. remarks ’I have said nothing in this article about utopias.) They have also been fantasy-worlds affording some kind of compensatory escapism. (No sense of progress is implied by this. Downloaded from http://tcs. The reasons for using this definition will become apparent presently. Bauman and Polak as important in directing social change that they were/are concerned about their absence. This is a shift which began to affect utopias in the 17th century. following in the footsteps of others who have expressed concern about what they have perceived as a lack of utopias. and thus with perceptions of time and historical development. but where they are located. I use the term simply to denote the state of society to which individuals or groups of people ultimately aspire. whether. either in the past or the in the future.not simply in terms of the content of those images. 2008 © 1982 Theory. Parrinder (1981. or elsewhere in time. they are located elsewhere in space. because I doubt if the last years of the present millenium are going to be a In making this statement. a recent article in the Times Higher Educational Supplement. And where a transformation of society was implied or demanded. I should state at the outset that in using the term ’utopia’ I am making no evaluation whatsoever of whether the particular state of society could possibly or will actually be realised.

because they are predicated on different assumptions about social development. such issues become more important. to imagine. continuous and progressive. The second.) but also from what it is possible to imagine as possible. of by Omar Pérez on August 29. He does not adduce any evidence for this. of where society is going. doubt whether medieval peasants found the notion of ready-cooked larks flying into the mouth plausible . they have to be at the other side of some kind of radical break.i. (which limits I transcendence anyway. they are merely different in content and in social role. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. Recent debates about historical time are relevant for two reasons. one can see that utopias do indeed exist in the present time. There are then two partially distinct issues involved in the existence or non-existence One is the of future-located utopias which can be used as goals in social change. to which I shall return later. . I have argued in a previous paper (Levitas. in any given place and that when I talk of certain views of time being dominant. image of social development. and whether the course of the other is the the transition or of time itself is seen as continuous or broken. the kind of utopia prevalent in the 19th century forms a special case. Herminio Martins (1974) has argued that there has indeed been a resurgence of caesurist thinking about time. the need here is to see how the end-state is to emerge out of the present limits to the extent to which the projected image can transcend the present reality: constraints arise not just from what it is possible. 1979) that if you look at the history of the English utopia. and on the assumption of human control over that evolution.e. All rights reserved. Ironically. The first is that they seem to illustrate that a caesurist view of time has permeated a whole spectrum of social and indeed scientific thought in much the same way as evolutionism came to be a dominant world view in the 19th century.sagepub.The gradual dominance of an evolutionary view of social change and the idea of progress confirmed utopia in a new position of an ideal future state to which things either are moving or can and should be made to move. has the means to implement utopia.but as they were not in the position of having to explain how Cockaygne was to be achieved. they cannot be seen to emerge out of the present in any continuous way. by extension. this logically gives rise to utopias located in the past. if anyone. or. Any cursory glance at history illustrates this: that millenarian movements. time and power. both in relation to academic debates about the nature of historical time. have generally been explained in terms of the experience of oppression and powerlessness is one example of this point. 54 Downloaded from http://tcs. When utopias must emerge out of the present. I am not implying that there is a homogeneous society. The utopias of the 19th century were predicated on a view of social development that was evolutionary . that is. but it is possible to do so. which seems to be characterised more by expectations of catastrophe than expectations of utopia. and that. question of power. which by definition conceptualize the transition to utopia as a sudden break often involving divine intervention. What I want to do now is extend this argument in relation to the present. and indeed from current literary utopias. this didn’t matter. is that they also force the recognition that perceptions of time and social development vary between different groups in the same society at the same time . if they are to be located in the future. Culture & Society Ltd. If the view of social development as continuous and progressive gives way to a view that society is in decline. an increasing perception of historical time as discontinuous and broken. 2008 © 1982 Theory.

(1) It is undoubtedly true that one of the major divisions in the discussion of historical time is between those who see it as essentially continuous and those who do not. sure whether Thompson really does accept the existence of different objective as opposed to subjective time-scales. 2008 © 1982 Theory. objective. and ’la longue duree’ more long-term ecological shifts. One might also cite in this context recent arguments about evolution influencing the organisation of the display at the Natural History Museum.dislocation&dquo. Thompson (1978) has vehemently opposed Althusser’s view ’of &dquo. (Althusser & galibar 1977 pp 104-5). Thus it is possible to talk of occurrences in different timescales happening at the same time. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. (as Braudel insists on) then no understanding of historical process is possible at all. there is no way in which they can be assumed to have a common ’Now’. in some objective sense. Althusser. motoring around in history at different speeds and on different schedules’ as ’an academic fiction’. ’la moyenne duree’ by Omar Pérez on August 29. (2) Althusser similarly argues that different levels of the historical process operate at different paces. the time within which process eventuates’. although cutting across this is another division between those primarily concerned with the objective nature of time and those concerned with the subjective experience of it. All rights reserved. so that different aspects of social life proceed. 55 . such as shifts in the relationships between social groups. that there are different rhythms.It is probable that scientific discussion of time itself has moved towards a less continuous view. it is not the same point in time because it is made up of points in different times. need not lead to confusion. the development of catastrophe theory may be illustration of this. Culture & Society Ltd. although what he stresses is that different levels of the social formation and different modes of production are characterised by different temporal rhythms. different times. These divisions tend to be confused to the point where the protagonists seem sometimes to be talking past each other. denies the possibility of subsuming these different times under a single historical tim. changes in the economic system and so on. a continuous scale to which they can all be related. in fact. Downloaded from http://tcs. but rather an assertion that unless these different temporalities can be ’convened within the same real historical time. 1972) has attempted to distinguish between different levels of objective time: ’Ie temps court’ in which the events which are usually conceived of as constituting history occur. Braudel (1980. However. world time. however. Yet his position is not really one of opposition to the notion of differential historical times for people in different structural positions or for different sorts of process. overlapping paces.~. which consists of the more gradual changes underpinning ’events’. or of measuring their &dquo. Althusser dismisses this as ideological and claims that it cannot be done: ’there can be no question of relating the diversity of the different temporalities to a single ideological base time. I am not. Thus while Braudel wishes to convene the different time-scales into a single continuous stream. because there is also a universal.levels&dquo. and the extraordinary programme on Radio 4 which resembled a replay of early nineteenth century arguments among scientists about the status of evolutionary theory. Each of these scales operates at a different rhythm and none of them is internally homogeneous. against the line of a single continuous reference time’.. at different.

sagepub. Extending this to images of social development is more by Omar Pérez on August 29. resolving the than noting its existence. may I do not be more significant than the single time within which they are unified. and also one of ideologies in which images of the course of change of society over time are central. but in Gurvitch’s hands. the dislocations of different temporalities against a single continuous reference time. For the purpose of this paper. different temporalities. but to different stages of development. implied in Berger’s (1978) account of the peasant resistance to the idea of progress. and thus how One might different images of social development relate to objective experience. since Discussions of subjective time. hinges on whether there is a single objective sense. 56 Downloaded from http://tcs. And as far as different groups within a society are concerned. arguing that different aspects of life were lived in (objectively) different tempos. (Hall 1980. time. this does not relate to the nature of time itself. debate. connection between different objective temporalities and different subjective but because those concerned with the subjective experience of time have not started from here (eg Husserl). expect a temporalities. Stressing the link between objective rhythms of life and subjective views of time is important. where the conflict is both one of real interests. (This is another reason why the objectively different temporalities to which Althusser refers must be discussed in relation to one another). is too fragmentary to use. although it can be argued that part of the ideological role of Christianity has been to control eschatological images and thus images of At a more mundane the hegemonic control by a dominant group. All rights reserved. has an important omission. . involved not only getting used to doing things differently. which. as well as by more contemporary conflicts What Thompson’s account shows is that changing patterns of work over time-speeds. while always convertible into a single chronology. 2008 © 1982 Theory. then. different levels of the social formation. they may be implicitly or explicitly an arena of conflict. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. same time would seem to imply precisely that single measuring rod against which the If we cannot measure difference could be assessed which he rejects as ideological. pp 127-30) there is not much ground on which to make such a connection. do not throw any direct light on how these variations arise.Anderson (1980) has attempted to resolve this by distinguishing between chronological and time as rhythm or development. however. when much more irregular patterns had been customary. but the disruption of cultural expectations and the imposition of a different temporal culture . though.. exactly such a conflict is time and of society-in-time. he seems to be referring not just to different rhythms. let alone say anything about their relationship to one another. which gives rise to time as duration. In the first place. and that the result of this would be that groups would end up with different (subjective) The scheme. Culture & Society Ltd. To say that it is not the same And to say it is not the time has both a rhythmic and a chronological meaning. it obscures the fact that views of time and of social development are socially produced and part of a shared culture. and also dominant time concepts. when he talks about think Althusser is so easy to rescue. This whole continuous time in any debate is less important That there are differences in subjective experiences of time is less contentious. Gurvitch (1964) has attempted to do so. it seems difficult to know how we can perceive them as different. That the control of rhythms of work and hence of objective time is a matter of conflict is amply illustrated vy Thompson’s (1967) account f the imposition f a constant and ’rational’ pattern of work in the early industrial period.

It is a much harsher environment. and utopia is not seen as an evolving future state of the present but involves starting afresh somewhere else. for some an individual escape which can be partly lived in the present. such as decapitated) . she accidentally ends up in the ’wrong’ (hyperindustrial) future and perceives that there are alternative futures. by its deterrent role. time is not seen as a continuum. If they do not seem achievable at all. actually averts upturn it. They are also related to the perceived power of different groups to influence or control social change. which if put into effect. The transition is not explained although after an enforced operation. If to appeal of influence. The manipulation of time involved in these novels and in Doris Lessing’s Canopus in Argos: Archives is commented on by Khanna. Such views are not new. like Piercy’s is again an anti-industrial utopia set elsewhere in space and time. The Utopia in The Dispossessed. is a theoretical physicist working on the simultaneity principle. as Williams (1975) argues in The County and the City. and in attempts to argue that the build-up of nuclear weapons does not presage disaster. but real. Culture & Society Ltd. of historical development are related to variable rhythms in material life and to the power some groups have to impose their perceptions on others. But their present currency is significant. then they revert to the compensatory role _ of the Cockaygne fantasy. Shevek. and one is not simply moving backwards and forwards along a continuum.sagepub. and/or a compensation at the level of fantasy or nostalgia for the ills of industrial by Omar Pérez on August 29. Woman on the Edge of Time involves the experiences of a woman in an American psychiatric hospital who is periodically translated into the utopian work in the future. All rights interim stage collective and secular ability to power is Cromwell between construct seen as or the King. resulting from dissidents being allowed to colonize the Moon. with a faint flavour of pioneering Israel. perhaps because of the initial desert conditions.(3) Donaldson’s (1978) Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever also embodies parallel worlds with parallel and different time-scales. 2008 © 1982 Theory. The difference between this and ’standard’ timetravel is the explicit statement that ’our time did not develop in a straight line from yours’ . The lack of continuity between the present and utopia is illustrated in two contemporary ’science fiction’ utopias. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. Marge Piercy’s (1979) Woman on the Edge of Time and Ursula Le Guin’s (1975) The Dispossessed. As far as time is concerned. Again. Downloaded from http://tcs. they are of course visible in much older myths about fairy-land. invoking utopia. For this reason. images of social change and of the transition to utopia tend to the apocalyptic when people cannot conceive of the changes they want emerging by evolution either because society is seen as immutable and not controlled by human agency or because particular groups feel (rightly or wrongly) that they are Images excluded from such control. although they are not simply dreams and possibilities.The same hegemonic impulse can be seen in much political propoganda.. and a sense that getting back to basic struggles for survival is a relief and an advantage. would abolish the time element involved in space travel. but. the central character. by investing the ’missed’ qualities of life in a mythical past. a primarily anti-industrial utopia. in talk of the at the end of the recession. both of which involve concepts of time which support Martins’ claim. they are able to be more fantastic. it embodies a rejection of utopia could not emerge directly out of the present. waste and the unnecessary. But such a change has a side-effect on the nature of utopias: because they do not have to be plausibly continuous with the present. invested in some agent susceptible then he can be appealed to (or Divine intervention and assuming a The decline of the idea of progress and the resurgence of caesurist thought eliminates the continuity between the present and utopia. it may be a blueprint for an alternative society involving a radical break from the present. In this way one can see anti-industrialism as utopian (in spite of Bauman’s claim to the contrary). 57 .

and implicitly dystopian thought. and availability This discontinuity is predicated on a view that society is as models of social change. which then disappear from the news ’as though’ wars.. the real danger must be a factor in perceptions of it. plausibility. the media may also have the unwitting effect of producing an image of discontinuous development while simultaneously inuring people to the consequences of catastrophe. or al least invest their utopias with the qualities of the past. 2008 © 1982 Theory. 58 Downloaded from http://tcs. earthquakes. Disaster has thus been officially put on the agenda. As Parrinder says. one could argue that Britain’s economic decline and declining significance as a world power may predispose people to fearing the future.sagepub. and view the future with trepidation. and implicitly dismiss. as essentially bourgeois. In The I cannot English Utopia. Culture & Society Ltd. that this is to be dismissed as merely a symptom of changing images of time. Fairburns’ (1979) Benefits. are discontinuous with the present and embody discontinuous images of time which have implications for their content. as Thompson (1980) has pointed out. a view illustrated in the More official instruction that survivors of a nuclear war should leave their shelters when the all-clear sounds and resume their normal activities (HMSO.Current utopias. this is a dangerous half-truth. (The reasons for this leave room for interesting speculations. Far more people according to the opinion polls. Morton (1969) dismisses the dystopian novel. for example Le Guin’s (1977) The Word for World is Forest and to a lesser extent and more ambiguously. Again. Curiously. It is a truism that groups whose power is waning tend to locate their utopias in the past. This result follows a concerted attempt by the Government to make nuclear war thinkable (although they have so far been unsuccessful in convincing people it is survivable). The major contemporary expression of the view that society is headed for I am not arguing some ultimnate catastrophe is in the expectation of nuclear war. but reality does not determine perceptions. which. The importance of the media cannot be overestimated here. now believe nuclear war is more likely than did so in 1963 (40% vs 16%) (Lipsey 1980. Barkun (1974) has pointed out that news presentation in general informs people of current catastrophes all over the world. although it is improbable that all its side-effects are deliberate. (He cites the years before 1000 AD as example of this). important at a societal level may be a quite deliberate construction of this view. one has the problem that reality does not by itself cause perceptions of it. then. 1980). Such a view is illustrated by a headed for disaster or at least continuing decline. it is doubtful whether the secular sense of ’the end of an era’ resulting simply from the calendar would have so profound an effect. though. by drawing attention to the fact that there tends to be an upsurge of millenarianism at the end of each century and. By extension. it seems to me that the expectation of so total a castastrophe raises difficulties in relation to utopianism. It is not possible to by Omar Pérez on August 29. Disaster and utopia have commonly been linked in apocalyptic thought. but this is not the place for them). . particularly. although it seems more than likely that there are independednt factors which predispose people to expect disaster. as Enzensberger (1978) has done. However. Huxley’s (1962) Island. This may produce a view of the world as made up of a series of catastrophes none of which are really important or genuinely catastrophic. The Dispossessed. but such a link seems difficult to sustain when the disaster involves annihilation and most people do not believe in life after death. It also leaves out the rather important point of the relative significance of millenia in the cultures of 980 and 1980. at the end of each millenium. coups do not have continuing effects. number of novels in which utopias are either destroyed or shown to be under threat. provide anything like a total explanation of why people expect disaster. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. the product of a class in decline. prophecies of doom. and of course most of these catastrophes don’t actually have much immediate effect on the life of the observer. but only put forward some elements which may be involved. famines. says nothing at all about objective danger. All rights reserved. p 406).

and it is through this that the impact of ’economic decline’ reaches them. is more likely to see the world as in a state of decline. thought the middle classes are very marginally more optimistic. who both experience a lack of continuity and may feel their present good fortune or relative affluence and privilege to be precarious. 40% are worried and do not think anything can be done. particularly the fear of redundancy would be likely to make people’s view of the world one of impending catastrophe of some kind. This almost certainly obscures differences rather than establishes that they do not exist: other surveys have shown that businessmen are (or were) more optimistic about the future than supporters of ecological pressure groups.hegemonic control is important. Secondly. 40% of the population believes nuclear war is likely. may be a factor here. precisely these sections of the middle class who were active in the CND campaign in the 60’s and appear to be so now. albeit One might add to this that it is from the top of a parabola (Musgrove. everyday experiences may also be relevant. the increasing improbability that one’s own lifestyle . and having raised the cannot point confusing the relationship between the social base of the protest and that of catastrophic thinking is the question of power and of the distribution of fatalism. Driver 1964. but it seems likely that and subjective temporalities. . As far as work is concerned. p 606.will be repeated by one’s children would be likely to disrupt a continuous view of historical development. According to New Society. Having said earlier that such images thoughout terms of work or anything else . the constrasting security of this group in the 60’s may be a contributory factor in the relative optimism of that movement by comparison with the present one). which is mainly in the form of opinion polls. They are also not the most privileged and powerful sections of the middle class. membership probably amplifies any tendency to catastrophic thought. very large numbers of the population are faced with the threat or reality of redundancy or unemployment . possible as a result of social mobility. 1978) argument that the peasant view of continuity is mediated by the inheritance from parents and passing on to descendants of the means of existence. Musgrove’s curious view of a parabolic view of development is consonant with the fact that such middle class groups contain large numbers of upwardly mobile individuals. If be assumed to be evenly spread issue of the influence of everyday life. there are factors both in the sphere of work and in that of family life which might produce a catastrophic or at least discontinuous view of the world. a further 17% are worried and unwilling to do anything (Lipsey 1980. Nevertheless. Far more people are worried about nuclear weapons now than in the earlier campaign (65% vs 25%). one must of course ask who believes in the imminence and inevitability of catastrophe. since they are also more likely to join pressure groups anyway. and in the case of CND. 2008 © 1982 Theory. There is a problem about extrapolating from this to the view that such groups are particularly prone to catastrophic thinking. 1980. Culture & Society Ltd. Lack of inter-generational continuity.(5) But another movement Downloaded from by Omar Pérez on August 29. and 60% believes that Britain ’as a nation’ would not survive (Lipsey. p 98).. and thus neither reliable nor subtle.sagepub. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. The problems in answering this arise from the quality of available data. p 606). for example education and the helping professions.(4) or that a particular section of the middle classes engaged in. These figures vary little with social class. 77% believes they and their families would not survive. and are perhaps the ones most likely to fear redundancy at present through factors perceived as beyond their control because they are largely employed in the public sector. (Also.f one takes Beger’s (1977. 1974). although here we are faced again with the difficulty of making links betwen objective Their links are speculative. and which tells us nothing at all about the variable salience of the belief even to those who say yes to the interviewers. 59 . All rights reserved.

There are movements in the middle class and the same section of it . Nevertheless.Again. (They may also be interpreted as bougeois individualism. What. ’. where. to controlling the only thing one can control. in the emphasis on physical health and personal by Omar Pérez on August 29. but many have images of what life would be like if they did. however well meant. there is an implicit view of post-nuclear conditions involving one’s own survival. to construct a society which could not be envisaged as emerging out of the present in a continuous manner. This may be because the magnitude of the expected catastophe is too great to be emotionally graspable.. with basic issues of survival. Manipulated by a psychiatrist. let alone oneself (either individually or collectively). What he wants. in which the central character has ’effective dreams’ which alter reality retrospectively to fit the dream. is to stop dreaming. And little in Bristol CND’s satirical Radioactive Times. but this I think gives no explanation of why individualism should take that form. they may be less ready to accept their own impotence. ’we’ve all been so much happier since . too. but also. is outside anyone’s control to be both prevalent and a direct contrast with the conditions commonly thought to be implicated in the rise of the idea of progress. 2008 © 1982 Theory. albeit satirically.. the newspaper of the first anniversary after the dropping of the bomb. the ’ordinary’ woman (changing into a wardrobe) says she is ’glad it’s all over’. (Antrobus & Milligan 1972). the importance of this is reflected in The Dispossessed. but they always result in making it worse. And at least those who do survive will be dealing with what life is ’really’ about. survive. 60 Downloaded from http://tcs.again. albeit with a not exactly clean slate. fatalism is itself quite deliberately cultivated by government arguments that only is the need for nuclear weapons created by circumstances beyong our control. and ’if I’d known the end would be such a relief . people do not rationally believe they would think they would survive. by assertions that unemployment is inevitable. then. not seems The notion that change. either social or technological. there are traces.. above all. a nuclear holocaust may be seen in part as the radical break necessary to break out of the current trajectory. oneself. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. emerging from a period of life on the Circle Line. with a sense of relief that the decline has stopped. This is in spite of the fact that disaster is normally supposed to be invoked as a road to the promised land. and is also questionable in view of the particular groups involved. and perhaps more importantly. In the first place. will have undesirable and unpredictable side Such a view is epitomised in Le ruin’s effects does not encourage planned change.sagepub.. Thus while expectations of disaster may not be particularly rooted in a section of the middle class. or even among those who expect it and are attempting to protest about it or prevent it. he is encouraged to dream dreams to improve the world. Nevertheless. especially where the personal growth movement is concerned). (1974) The Lathe of Heaven. . There is a perceptible love-hate relationship with the ’final’ act of destruction. I question the meaning of the opinion poll finding that 77% of people do not within CND. 1956) in The Kraken Wakes and The Day of the Triffids. of utopia? It is difficult to locate utopianism in relation to the fatalistic expectation of catastrophe. and indeed nothing negative that happens is within their control. but whatever the reason. All rights reserved. Such a denial of control reinforces a view that no-one can change what is going on. in Wyndham’s work (1954. Such elements occur. in a way thry are not now . The expectation that every innovation. in The Bedsitting Room. to begin again. which can both be seen as a withdrawal from trying to affect social processes.which illustrate a fatalism there too. This is not necessarily utopian: Radioactive Times is grisly reading. I do not think that catastrophic thinking is as totally devoid of millenial expectation as it might appear at first glance. There is little utopianism in Lessing’s (1976) Memoirs of a Survivor. Culture & Society Ltd. ’.

this does not mean there are or will be no utopias at all. Yet this does not mean that they embody desires and aspirations any less than the utopias of the 19th century. Culture & Society Ltd. There is not a great deal of millenial hope predicated on the expectation of a nuclear holocaust.. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. They are more likely to be labelled fantasy or by Omar Pérez on August 29. body and mind. there is in a way more scope for utopias. content and social role of utopia than by asserting that utopia is dead. Downloaded from http://tcs. I think more is gained by trying to understand this shift in the location. is while one must agree with Parrinder that the present climate is not conducive to social utopias . The point I wish to stress. I think. 61 . Rather. to overplay this element. futuristic utopias are possible only on the basis of ’broken’ images of time. And perhaps the concern that utopias ain’t what they used to be is itself a manifestation of the fact that we live in dsystopian times. though. especially at the level of compensatory or exploratory fantasy. If people are fatalistic.sagepub. utopias will tend to be escapist. Yet precisely because the broken image ’of time liberates utopianism from continuity with the present.It would be a mistake. simply because the transition from the present is difficult or impossible to envisage. All rights reserved.if by these you mean utopias set in the future which can be brought about by conscious social change . with the disruption of an evolutionary and progressive world-view. 2008 © 1982 Theory. or individualised into the preservation and protection of the self.

Cotgrove ’Catastrophe same. . Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. ’In the beginning’. Lee Cullen Khanna ’Women’s Worlds: New Directions in S Utopian Fiction’. or Cornucopia’ are Driver’s and are not the Lipsey’s figures not strictly comparable as the questions 62 Downloaded from http://tcs.. 2008 © 1982 Theory.. All rights reserved. The revived debate within geology and biology between ’stasis’ and ’punctuation’ (ie continuity and discontinuity) within the ’evolutionary’ sequence is discussed by John Maynard Smith (1981) ’Did Darwin get it right’ 2 3 4 5 A brief account of Braudel’s position can be found in Hall (1980). Theory of evolution under fire from scientists as well as the Bible lobby’. Culture & Society Ltd.NOTES 1 The Guardian billed this BBC Radio 4.sagepub. as ’. 14 July by Omar Pérez on August 29.. The arguments were remarkably similar to those described by Gillespie (1951) as taking place during the 1830’s as a result of Lyell’s theories.

(1980). Society. 2008 © 1982 Theory. (1964). New 5 January Philip Braudel F the (1972).. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. 19. Reading Capital. London: Tandem Barkun M Bauman Z (1974). London: RKP (ed) Downloaded from http://tcs. Island. 63 . The Spectrum of Social Time. 29 December Berger (1978). ’What do we think about the Nuclear New Society. Ideology and Utopia. Society. Second. The Dispossessed. within The London: New Left Books London: New Left Books (1980). (1980). London: Granada Hall J R History HMSO ’The Time of History and the and Theory. ’Peasants and Progress’. ’Two Notes New Left Review 110 on the End of the World’. London: Hodder & Stoughton Unbeliever. 25 September Threat’. Genesis and Geology. Hammondsworth: Penguin Lessing Lipsey D (1976). (1980). Memoirs of A Survivor. London: Virago Harvard U P Reidel Gillespie C C (1951). A Protect and Survive Huxley (1964). London: RKP in J Rex (1974).com by Omar Pérez on August 29.sagepub. (1974). Bedsitting Room. Dordrecht: le Guin U le Guin U The Lathe of Heaven. Millenium. Culture & Society Ltd. Donaldson S (1977). (1979). (orig 1969) Disarmers. Arguments Milligan S English Marxism. Gurvitch G (1964). (1972). Mannheim K Martins H (1936). London: Granada (1975). London: On The The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World of Collins (orig 1966) Braudel F Driver C History. Benefits. London: Pan D (1980). New London: Allen & 22 & Berger John John (1977). All rights reserved. Survivors’. (1976). ’Time and Theory in Sociology’ Approaches to Society.BIBLIOGRAPHY Althusser L & Anderson P Antrobus J & Balibar E (1977). Disaster and the New Haven: Yale University Unwin Press Socialism: the Active ’A Class of Utopia.2 History of Times’. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the London: Foutard Enzensberger Fairbairns Z H M (1978). London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson.

’Notes of New Left Review.sagepub. the Last Stage of Civilization. ’Did Darwin Get it 18 June Work Right?’ London Review Thompson Thompson E P (1967). London: The Woman’s Press (1973). All rights reserved. John John The Country of the City. Hammondsworth: Penguin 64 Downloaded from http://tcs. Past and E P (1978). (orig 1952) F The English Utopia and a London: Lawrence and Wishart Musgrave (1974). Hammondsworth: Penguin (orig 1951 The Kraken Wakes.’ and the Raymond (1975). London: Methuen Parrinder P (1981). (1981). Piercey Polak F M (1976). London: Merlin Press Thompson Williams E P (1980). 3. of the Future. The Day Triffids. ’Has future 9 January man?’ Times Higher Educational Supplement. 121 Exterminism..Morton A L (1969). by Omar Pérez on August 29. 38. Poverty Theory. Ecstasy Holiness. Images 11. . (1956). ’Time. Amsterdam: Elsevier Smith John Maynard of Books. The Discipline of and Industrial Capitalism’. London: Paladin Wyndham Wyndham (1954). Women on the Edge of Time. 2008 © 1982 Theory. Culture & Society Ltd. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful