© 2013

Utopia as Method

The Imaginary Reconstitution of Society


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Part I

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Ruth Levitas
      Pages 3-19
    3. Ruth Levitas
      Pages 20-39
    4. Ruth Levitas
      Pages 40-61
  3. Part II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 63-63
    2. Ruth Levitas
      Pages 65-84
    3. Ruth Levitas
      Pages 85-102
    4. Ruth Levitas
      Pages 103-126
    5. Ruth Levitas
      Pages 127-149
  4. Part III

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 151-151
    2. Ruth Levitas
      Pages 153-174
    3. Ruth Levitas
      Pages 175-196
    4. Ruth Levitas
      Pages 197-220
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 221-268

About this book


Utopia should be understood as a method rather than a goal. This book rehabilitates utopia as a repressed dimension of the sociological and in the process produces the Imaginary Reconstitution of Society, a provisional, reflexive and dialogic method for exploring alternative possible futures.


constitution Presse sociology utopia

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of BristolUK

About the authors

Ruth Levitas is Professor of Sociology at the University of Bristol, founding Chair of the Utopian Studies Society Europe, and Chair of the William Morris Society. Her publications include The Concept of Utopia . In 2012 she received the Lyman Tower Sargent Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Utopian Studies.

Bibliographic information


'Levitas's Utopia as Method is a crucial and necessary book. In the face of global ecological and economic crises, she offers utopianism as a robust and realistic method that encompasses both a critique of the existing world and alternatives for a better one that can be mobilized in the process of transforming, indeed redeeming, the dark times in which we live.' - Tom Moylan, Professor Emeritus and Co-Director of the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies at the University of Limerick, Ireland

'Author of the path-breaking The Concept of Utopia Ruth Levitas has produced a new powerful reflection on the protean nature of the utopian. It is a very fine work, theoretically innovative, truly interdisciplinary, and combining scholarly integrity with a distinctive political voice. The meditations of a lifetime.' - Vincent Geoghegan, Professor of Political Theory, Queen's University Belfast, UK

'Ruth Levitas' Utopia as Method is a profound and deeply original exploration of the connection between utopian thinking and social theory, and an urgent call for sociologists to place the imaginary reconstruction of society at the centre of their work. It is a wonderful, inspiring book.' - Erik Olin Wright, Vilas Distinguished Professor, University of Wisconsin, USA

'This book is an indispensable support for deep change in trivial times, a testimonial to the transformative power of imagination, and a celebration of life as a journey that can find an echo across all cultures in our changing world.' - Jenneth Parker, Research Director, Schumacher Institute, UK

'In Utopia as Method, Levitas offers an urgent and convincing application of utopian theories to IROS (the Imaginary Reconstitution of Society). She builds on her magisterial earlier work The Concept of Utopia to persuade readers that the current era (late capitalism in its death throes) has made utopian thinking mandatory not self-indulgent or irrelevant. Levitas is to be congratulated for the depth of her argument, the clarity of its expression, and the honesty that lies at its heart.' - Toby Widdicombe, University of Alaska Anchorage, USA