Horizons and Formations

  • Chamsy el-OjeiliEmail author


In this chapter, el-Ojeili explores the scholarly treatment of utopia and utopianism. Examining key debates around the connections between utopia and science, ideology, reason, and emotion, el-Ojeili draws from the work of Mannheim, Bloch, and Levitas to set out seven theses on utopia as optic or method. These theses inform the chapters ahead. As a further backdrop to the studies that follow, el-Ojeili turns to specifically modern utopianism in social and political thought. Here, he suggests four important modern periods in which novel elements within successive utopian constellations emerged. In conclusion, el-Ojeili suggests that 1999 serves as a symbolic date, after which major transformations in the utopian constellation become visible. Certain dimensions of such contemporary transformations are the focus of the three chapters that follow.


Cultural production Conceptualisation Ideology Science Modern utopianism Neo-liberalism Socialism 


  1. Alexander, J. C. (1995). Modern, anti, post and neo. New Left Review, 1(210), 63–101.Google Scholar
  2. Alexander, J. C. (2001). Robust Utopias and civil repairs. International Sociology, 16(4), 579–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, B. (1991). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  4. Anderson, P. (2002). Internationalism: A breviary. New Left Review, 14, 5–25.Google Scholar
  5. Anderson, P. (2004). The river of time. New Left Review, 26, 67–77.Google Scholar
  6. Anderson, P. (2007). Jottings on the conjuncture. New Left Review, 48, 5–37.Google Scholar
  7. Arblaster, A., & Lukes, S. (Eds.). (1971). The good society: A book of readings. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  8. Arrighi, G., Hopkins, T., & Wallerstein, I. (1989). Antisystemic movements. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  9. Arrighi, G., & Silver, B. (Eds.). (1999). Chaos and governance in the modern world system. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  10. Badiou, A. (2007). The century. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  11. Badiou, A. (2010). The idea of communism. In C. Douzinas & S. Žižek (Eds.), The idea of communism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  12. Balakrishnan, G. (1995). The national imagination. New Left Review, 1(211), 56–69.Google Scholar
  13. Balibar, E. (1991). Race, nation, class: Ambiguous identities (E. Balibar & I. Wallerstein, Eds.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Balibar, E. (2007). The philosophy of Marx. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  15. Bauman, Z. (2000). Liquid modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  16. Bauman, Z. (2003). Utopia with no topos. History of the Human Sciences, 16(1), 11–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Bauman, Z. (2007a). Sociology, nostalgia, utopia and mortality: A conversation With Zygmunt Bauman. European Journal of Social Theory, 10(2), 305–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Bauman, Z. (2007b). Liquid times: Living in an age of uncertainty. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  19. Beck, U. (1999). World risk society. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  20. Beilharz, P. (1994). Postmodern socialism: Romanticism, city and state. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Bell, D. (1962). The end of ideology: On the exhaustion of political ideas in the ’50s. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  22. Bell, D. (1999). The coming of post-industrial society: A venture in social forecasting. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  23. Berger, M. T. (2004). After the third world? History, destiny and the fate of third worldism. Third World Quarterley, 25(1), 9–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Beveridge, W. (1969 [1942]). Social insurance and allied services (The Beveridge report). New York: Agathon Press.Google Scholar
  25. Bloch, E. (1970). A philosophy of the future. New York: Herder and Herder.Google Scholar
  26. Bloch, E. (1986). The principle of hope, volume one. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  27. Bocock, R. (1999). The cultural formations of modern society. In S. Hall & B. Gieben (Eds.), Formations of modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  28. Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2005). The new spirit of capitalism. London: Verso.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Bornschier, S. (2010). Cleavage politics and the populist right: The new cultural conflict in Western Europe. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Bradley, H. (1999). Changing social structures: Class and gender. In S. Hall & B. Gieben (Eds.), Formations of modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  31. Briggs, A., & Clavin, P. (2003). Modern Europe: 1789–present (2nd ed.). London: Pearson.Google Scholar
  32. Buick, A., & Crump, J. (1986). State capitalism: The wages system under new management. London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Castells, M. (1997). The information age: Economy, society and culture: The power of identity. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  34. Castoriadis, C. (1997). The Castoriadis reader. Cambridge: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  35. Castoriadis, C. (2003). The rising tide of insignificancy. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from
  36. Castoriadis, C. (2005). Figures of the thinkable. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from
  37. Chase-Dunn, C. (1998). Global formation: Structures of the world-economy (updated ed.). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  38. Chirot, D. (1986). Social change in the modern era. San Diego: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  39. Day, G., & Thompson, A. (2004). Theorizing nationalism. London: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. de Beauvoir, S. (2010 [1949]). The second sex. London: Vintage.Google Scholar
  41. Eagleton, T. (1991). Ideology. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  42. Ellwood, C. A. (1969). A history of social philosophy. New York: AMS Press.Google Scholar
  43. el-Ojeili, C. (2003). From left communism to post-modernism: Reconsidering emancipatory discourse. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  44. Engels, F. (1978). The Marx-Engels reader (2nd ed.). New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  45. Fanon, F. (1963). The wretched of the earth. New York: Grove Press.Google Scholar
  46. Favilli, P. (2016). The history of Italian Marxism: From its origins to the Great War. Leiden: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Finlayson, A. (2001). Imagined communities. In K. Nash & A. Scott (Eds.), The Blackwell companion to political sociology. Cambridge: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  48. Flora, P. Alber, J., & Kraus, F. (1983). State, economy, and society in Western Europe 1815–1975: A data handbook; Volume I: The growth of mass democracies and welfares states. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  49. Fraser, N. (1995). From redistribution to recognition? Dilemmas of justice in a ‘post-socialist’ age. New Left Review, 1(212), 68–93.Google Scholar
  50. Freeden, M. (2006). Ideology and political theory. Journal of Political Ideologies, 11(1), 3–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Fukuyama, F. (1992). The end of history and the last man. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  52. Giddens, A. (1990). The consequences of modernity. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Gondermann, T. (2007). Progression and retrogression: Herbert Spencer’s explanation of social inequality. History of the Human Sciences, 20(3), 21–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Goodwin, B. (1978). Social science and utopia. Sussex: Harvester Press.Google Scholar
  56. Gordon, S. (1991). The history and philosophy of social science. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  57. Griffin, R. (1991). The nature of fascism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  58. Hamilton, P. (1999). The Enlightenment and the birth of Social Sciences. In S. Hall & B. Gieben (Eds.), Formations of modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  59. Harrington, A. (Ed.). (2005). Modern social theory: An introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Hartwell, R. M. (1972). The service revolution: The growth of services in the modern economy. In M. Cipolla (Ed.), The Fontana economic history of Europe: The twentieth century 1. London: Fontana.Google Scholar
  61. Harvey, D. (1989). The condition of postmodernity: An enquiry into the origins of cultural change. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  62. Helibron, J. (1995). The rise of social theory. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  63. Held, D. (1999). The development of the modern state. In S. Hall & B. Gieben (Eds.), Formations of modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  64. Held, D., McGrew, A., Goldblatt, D., & Perraton, J. (1999). Global transformations: Politics, economics and culture. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  65. Heywood, A. (2003). Political ideologies: An introduction (3rd ed.). London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  66. Hobhouse, L. T. (1908). Morals in evolution: A study in comparative ethics, part I (2nd ed.). London: Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
  67. Hobsbawm, E. (1962). Age of revolution 1789–1848. New York: Mentor.Google Scholar
  68. Hobsbawm, E. (1969). Industry and empire. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  69. Hobsbawm, E. (1990). Echoes of the Marseillaise: Two centuries look back on the French Revolution. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  70. Hobsbawm, E. (1994). Age of extremes: The short twentieth century, 1914–1991. London: Abacus.Google Scholar
  71. Hobsbawm, E. (1995a). The age of capital, 1848–1875. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson.Google Scholar
  72. Hobsbawm, E. (1995b). Age of empire, 1875–1914. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson.Google Scholar
  73. Horowitz, I. L. (1999). Behemoth: Main currents in the history and theory of political sociology. New Brunswick: Transaction.Google Scholar
  74. Israel, J. I. (2006). Enlightenment! Which Enlightenment? Journal of the History of Ideas, 67(3), 523–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Jacoby, R. (1999). The end of utopia: Politics and culture in an age of apathy. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  76. Jacoby, R. (2005). Picture imperfect: Utopian thought for an anti-utopian age. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  77. Jameson, F. (1981). The political unconscious: Narrative as a socially symbolic act. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  78. Jameson, F. (1984). Postmodernism, or, the cultural logic of late capitalism. New Left Review, 1(146), 52–92.Google Scholar
  79. Jameson, F. (1989). Marxism and postmodernism. New Left Review, 1(176), 31–45.Google Scholar
  80. Jameson, F. (2005). Archaeologies of the future: The desire called utopia and other science fictions. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  81. Jameson, F. (2009). Valences of the dialectic. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  82. Jameson, F. (2016). An American utopia: Dual power and the universal army. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  83. Joll, J. (1976). Europe since 1870: An international history. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  84. Kautsky, J. H. (1994). Karl Kautsky: Marxism, revolution and democracy. London: Transaction.Google Scholar
  85. Keynes, J. M. (1936). The general theory of employment, interest and money. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from
  86. Kumar, K. (1991). Utopianism. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  87. Kumar, K. (2003). Aspects of the western utopian tradition. History of the Human Sciences, 16(1), 63–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Larrain, J. (1979). The concept of ideology. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  89. Lash, S., & Urry, J. (1987). The end of organized capitalism. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  90. Lassman, P. (1986). Social theory and politics. In M. L. Wardell & S. P. Turner (Eds.), Sociological theory in transition. Boston: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  91. Lenin, V. I. (1965). Collected works, volume 31. Moscow: Progress Publishers.Google Scholar
  92. Lepenies, W. (1988). Between literature and science: The rise of sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  93. Levitas, R. (1986). Competition and compliance: The utopias of the new Right. In R. Levitas (Ed.), The ideology of the new right. Oxford: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  94. Levitas, R. (1990). The concept of utopia. Hertfordshire: Syracuse University Press.Google Scholar
  95. Levitas, R. (2005, October 4). The imaginary reconstitution of society or why sociologists and others should take utopia more seriously. Inaugural Lecture, University of Bristol. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from
  96. Levitas, R. (2013). Utopia as method: The imaginary reconstitution of society. London: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Lilley, S. (1972). Technical progress and the Industrial Revolution 1700–1914. In M. Cipolla (Ed.), The Fontana economic history of Europe: The twentieth century. London: Fontana.Google Scholar
  98. Lyotard, J.-F. (1984). The postmodern condition: A report on knowledge. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  99. Maddison, A. (1976). Economic policy and performance in Europe 1913–1970. In C. M. Cipolla (Ed.), The Fontana economic history of Europe: The twentieth century 1. London: Fontana.Google Scholar
  100. Mair, P. (2006). Ruling the void? The hollowing of western democracy. New Left Review, 42, 25–51.Google Scholar
  101. Mann, M. (1988). States, war and capitalism: Studies in political sociology. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  102. Mann, M. (2004). Fascists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Mannheim, K. (1968 [1936]). Ideology and utopia: An introduction to the sociology of knowledge. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.Google Scholar
  104. Marcuse, H. (1966). One-dimensional man: Studies in the ideology of advanced industrial society. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  105. Marechal, S. (2004) Manifesto of the equals. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from
  106. Marx, K. (1987). Karl Marx: Selected writings. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  107. May, T. (1996). Situating social theory. Bristol: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  108. Mazlish, B. (1989). A new science: The breakdown of connections and the birth of sociology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  109. McGrew, A. (2001). The state in advanced capitalist societies. In J. Allen, P. Braham, & P. Lewis (Eds.), Political and economic forms of modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  110. McLennan, G. (1996, July–August). Post-Marxism and the ‘four sins’ of modernist theorizing. New Left Review, 1(218), 53–74.Google Scholar
  111. McLennan, G. (2006). Sociological cultural studies: Reflexivity and positivity in the human sciences. London: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  112. Moylan, T. (2011). Realizing better futures, strong thought for hard times. In T. Moylan & R. Baccolini (Eds.), Utopia as method vision: The use value of social dreaming. Oxford: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  113. Mussolini, B. (1935). The political and social doctrine of fascism. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from
  114. Nash, A. (2002). Third worldism. African Sociological Review, 7(1), 94–116.Google Scholar
  115. Nkrumah, K. (1965). Neo-colonialism, the last stage of imperialism. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from
  116. Ollman, B. (2005). The utopian vision of the future (then and now): A Marxist critique. Monthly Review, 57(3), 78–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. Osterhammel, J., & Petersson, N. P. (2003). Globalization: A short history. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  118. Outhwaite, W., & Ray, L. (2005). Social theory and postcommunism. Oxford: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  119. Pareto, V. (1966). Pareto: Sociological writings. London: Pall Mall Press.Google Scholar
  120. Polanyi, K. (1944). The great transformation. New York: Farrar & Rinehart.Google Scholar
  121. Porter, R. (2001). The enlightenment (2nd ed.). London: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  122. Ray, L. (1999). Theorizing classical sociology. Philadelphia: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  123. Ricoeur, P. (1986). Lectures on ideology and utopia. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  124. Ritzer, G., & Goodman, D. J. (2004). Classical social theory (4th ed.). New York: McGrawHill.Google Scholar
  125. Rorty, R. (1999). Philosophy and social hope. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  126. Rubel, M., & Crump, J. (Eds.). (1987). Non-market socialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  127. Rundell, J. (2003). Modernity, Enlightenment, revolution and romanticism. In G. Ritzer & B. Smart (Eds.), Handbook of social theory. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  128. Saiedi, N. (1993). The birth of social theory: Social thought in the Enlightenment and Romanticism. Lanham: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  129. Salvadori, M. (1979). Karl Kautsky and the socialist revolution, 1880–1938. London: New Left Books.Google Scholar
  130. Sargent, L. T. (2006). In defense of utopia. Diogenes, 209, 11–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  131. Sargent, L. T. (2011). Choosing utopia: Utopianism as an essential element in political thought and action. In T. Moylan & R. Baccolini (Eds.), Utopia as method vision: The use value of social dreaming. Oxford: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  132. Sargisson, L. (2012). Fool’s gold? Utopianism in the 21st century. Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  133. Sassoon, D. (1997). One hundred years of socialism: The west European left in the twentieth century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  134. Sim, S. (2002). Irony and crisis: A critical history of postmodern culture. Cambridge: Icon Books.Google Scholar
  135. Small, A. (1895). The era of sociology. American Journal of Sociology, 1(1), 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  136. Smart, B. (1992). Modern conditions, postmodern controversies. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  137. Smith, A. (1986). The essential Adam Smith. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  138. Smith, R. (1997). The Fontana history of the human sciences. London: Fontana.Google Scholar
  139. Social Democratic Party of Germany. (1891). The Erfurt programme. Retrieved October 19, 2018, from
  140. Stalin, J. (1933). The results of the first five-year plan. Retrieved November 20, 2018, from
  141. Stalin, J. (1939). History of the communist party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks): Short course. Retrieved November 20, 2018, from
  142. Stalin, J. (1972). The essential Stalin: Main theoretical writings, 1905–1952. New York: Anchor.Google Scholar
  143. Steinmetz, G. (2007). Transdisciplinarity as a nonimperial encounter: For an Open Sociology. Thesis Eleven, 91, 48–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  144. Strasser, H. (1976). The normative structure of sociology: Conservative and emancipatory themes in social thought. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  145. Suvin, D. (2016). Metamorposes of science fiction: On the poetics and history of a literary genre. Oxford: Peter Lang.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  146. Swingewood, A. (2000). A short history of sociological thought. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  147. Tamdgigi, M. H. (2007). Advancing utopistics: The three component parts and errors of Marxism. Boulder: Paradigm.Google Scholar
  148. Taylor, C. (2004). Modern social imaginaries. Durham: Duke.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  149. Tester, K., & Jacobsen, M. H. (Eds.). (2012). Utopia: Social theory and the future. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  150. Therborn, G. (1977). The rule of capital and the rise of democracy. New Left Review, 1(103), 3–41.Google Scholar
  151. Therborn, G. (1980). The ideology of power and the power of ideology. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  152. Therborn, G. (2003). Entangled modernities. European Journal of Social Theory, 6(3), 293–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  153. Therborn, G. (2009). From Marxism to post-Marxism?. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  154. Therborn, G. (2011). The world: A beginner’s guide. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  155. Thompson, J. (1990). Ideology and modern culture: Critical social theory in the era of mass communication. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  156. Traverso, E. (2003). The origins of Nazi violence. New York: New Press.Google Scholar
  157. Trotsky, L. (1972). The revolution betrayed: What is the Soviet Union and where is it going. New York: Pathfinder.Google Scholar
  158. Wagner, P. (1994). A sociology of modernity: Liberty and discipline. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  159. Wagner, P. (2001a). A history and theory of the social sciences. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  160. Wagner, P. (2001b). Theorizing modernity. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  161. Wagner, P. (2001c). Modernity, capitalism and critique. Thesis Eleven, 66, 1–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  162. Wallerstein, I. (1974). The modern world-system I: Capitalist agriculture and the origins of the European world-economy in the sixteenth century. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  163. Wallerstein, I. (1980). The modern world-system II: Mercantilism and the consolidation of the European world-economy, 1600–1750. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  164. Wallerstein, I. (1989). The modern world-system III: The second era of great expansion of the capitalist world-economy, 1730–1840s. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  165. Wallerstein, I. (1990). Antisystemic movements: History and dilemmas. In S. Amin, G. Arrighi, A. G. Frank, & I. Wallerstein (Eds.), Transforming the revolution: Social movements and the world system. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  166. Wallerstein, I. (1994). The agonies of liberalism: What hope progress? New Left Review, 1(204), 3–17.Google Scholar
  167. Wallerstein, I. (1995). After liberalism. New York: New Press.Google Scholar
  168. Wallerstein, I. (1997). Intellectuals in an age of transition. Retrieved November 11, 2010, from
  169. Wallerstein, I. (1998). Utopistics: Or historical choices of the twenty-first century. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  170. Wallerstein, I. (1999). The heritage of sociology, the promise of social science. Current Sociology, 47(1), 1–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  171. Wallerstein, I. (2002). New revolts against the system. New Left Review, 18. Retrieved November 11, 2010, from
  172. Wallerstein, I. (2003a). The decline of American power: The U.S. in a chaotic world. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  173. Wallerstein, I. (2003b). Entering global anarchy. New Left Review, 22, 27–35.Google Scholar
  174. Wallerstein, I. (2005a). After developmentalism and globalization, what? Social Forces, 83(3), 321–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  175. Wallerstein, I. (2005b). World-systems analysis: An introduction. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  176. Wallerstein, I. (2011). The modern world-system IV: Centrist liberalism triumphant, 1789–1914. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  177. Ward, L. F. (1896). The purpose of sociology. American Journal of Sociology, 2(3), 446–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  178. Wells, H. G. (1916). An Englishman looks at the world: Being a series of unrestrained remarks upon contemporary matters. London: Cassell & Company.Google Scholar
  179. Williams, R. (1977). Marxism and literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social and Cultural StudiesVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations