- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Verso (28 Jun. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 184467617X
- ISBN-13: 978-1844676170
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.8 x 23.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Envisioning Real Utopias Paperback – 28 Jun 2010
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Hugely rich and stimulating, Envisioning Real Utopias is many books in one: an incisive normative diagnosis of the harms done by capitalism; a masterful synthesis of the best work in political sociology and political economy over the past thirty years; an innovative theoretical framework for conceptualizing both the goals of progressive change and the strategies for their achievement; an inspiring survey of actually existing challenges to capitalism that have arisen within capitalism itself; and a compelling essay on the relation between the desirable, the viable and the achievable. Anyone interested in the future for leftist politics has to read this book. --Adam Swift, Balliol College, Oxford
Encyclopedic in its breadth, daunting in its ambition, Envisioning Real Utopias is the culmination of Erik Olin Wright s revamping of Marxism. Dispensing with ruptural change and laws of history, Wright restores the social to socialism. He keeps alive alternatives to capitalism by exploring real utopias their internal contradictions, their conditions of existence and, thus, their possible dissemination. Only a thinker of Wright s genius could sustain such a badly needed political imagination without losing analytical clarity and precision. --Michael Burawoy, UC Berkeley
[Wright] builds a strong case for an emancipatory social science. E. Kingsolver, "Choice"
A benchmark contribution to necessary radical thinking. Goran Therborn
Encyclopedic in its breadth, daunting in its ambition, this is the culmination of Erik Olin Wright s revamping of Marxism ... Only a thinker of Wright s genius could sustain such a badly needed political imagination without losing analytical clarity and precision. Michael Burawoy, UC Berkeley
Hugely rich and stimulating ... An incisive diagnosis of the harms done by capitalism; a masterful synthesis of the best work in political sociology and political economy over the past thirty years; and innovative theoretical framework for conceptualizing both the goals of progressive change and the strategies for their achievement; and inspiring survey of actually existing challenges to capitalism that have arisen within capitalism itself; and a compelling essay on the relation between the desirable, the viable and the achievable. Anyone interested in the future of leftist politics has to read this book. Adam Swift, Balliol College, Oxford
This book is both a manifesto and a guidebook: an argument for taking institutional design seriously, and a guide to how to do that. It s a book that sociologists will want to read, but also, frankly, that everyone in political theory and philosophy should be reading too. "Crooked Timber"
A fascinating book. Guy Aitchison, "openDemocracy""
"[Wright] builds a strong case for an emancipatory social science."--E. Kingsolver, Choice
About the Author
Erik Olin Wright is Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. He is the editor of the Real Utopias series, which includes his Deepening Democracy (cowritten with Archon Fung), and is the author of many other books, including Class Counts, Interrogating Inequality, The Debate on Classes and Classes.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book was really worth the money.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
One of Wright's contributions is to separate socialism from statism, so that capitalism becomes one of three possibilities. Not only the right, but the left as well, has come to conflate socialism and statism, and it is a crucial step toward mental as well as social emancipation to stop reinforcing the right-wing's narrative by supporting this conflation.
Here is the table of contents:
1) Introduction: Why Real Utopias?
2) The Tasks of Emancipatory Social Science
I) Diagnosis and Critique
3) What's So Bad About Capitalism?
4) Thinking About Alternatives to Capitalism
5) The Socialist Compass
6) Real Utopias I: Social Empowerment and the State
7) Real Utopias II: Social Empowerment and the Economy
8) Elements of a Theory of Transformation
9) Ruptural Transformation
10) Interstitial Transformation
11) Symbiotic Transformation
Conclusion: Making Utopias Real
Ruptural transformation is basically revolutionary or Leninist, interstitial transformation is basically anarchist, and symbiotic transformation is basically social democratic. Wright does not advocate one or the other, but analyzes the obstacles, potential benefits and limitations of each. Clearly he leans toward symbiotic or social democratic transformation, but he is aware that so far it has not led beyond capitalism. He concludes by calling for creative and energetic experimentation guided by the "socialist compass" of social empowerment.
Russell Jacoby threw a tantrum and called it a review of this book, but that's his problem. If you think that simplistic emotionalism is going to do the job of replacing capitalism with an egalitarian world, then this is not your book. If you think, to the contrary, that it is going to be difficult and might require some serious thought, then do not be dissuaded. (Jacoby also attacked sociology in its entirety, and I am a sociologist, so I am not inclined to take him seriously. He's just a historian and an essayist.)
This book is of great potential value for anyone on the left trying to think about how to move forward in the 21st century!
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