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Utopias : a brief history from ancient writings to virtual communities

Author: Howard P Segal
Publisher: Chichester, West Sussex ; Malden, MA : Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.
Series: Wiley-Blackwell brief histories of religion.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"This brief history connects the past and present of utopian thought, from the first utopias in ancient Greece, right up to present day visions of cyberspace communities and paradise. Explores the purpose of utopias, what they reveal about the societies who conceive them, and how utopias have changed over the centuries Unique in including both non-Western and Western visions of utopia Explores the many forms utopias
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Howard P Segal
ISBN: 9781405183284 1405183284 9781405183291 1405183292
OCLC Number: 687713915
Description: xiii, 290 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Contents: 1. The nature of utopias. Utopias defined ; Utopias differ from both millenarian movements and science fiction ; Utopias' spiritual qualities are akin to those of formal religions ; Utopias' real goal : not prediction of the future but improvement of the present ; How and when utopias are expected to be established --
2. The variety of utopias. The global nature of utopias : utopias are predominantly but not exclusively western ; The several genres of utopianism : prophecies and oratory, political movements, communities, writings, World's Fairs, cyberspace --
3. The European utopias and utopians and their critics. The pioneering European visionaries and their basic beliefs : Plato's Republic and More's Utopia ; Forging the connections between science, technology, and utopia ; The pansophists ; The prophets of progress : Condorcet, Saint-Simon, and Comte ; Dissenters from the ideology of unadulterated scientific and technological progress : Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, and William Morris ; The expansive visions of Robert Owen and Charles Fourier ; The "scientific" socialism of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels --
4. The American utopias and utopians and their critics. America as utopia : potential and fulfillment ; The pioneering American visionaries and their basic beliefs in America as land of opportunity : John Adolphus Etzler, Thomas Ewbank, and Mary Griffith ; America as "second creation" : enthusiasm and disillusionment --
5. Growing expectations of realizing utopia in the United States and Europe. Later American technological utopians : John Macnie through Harold Loeb ; Utopia within sight : the American technocracy crusade ; Utopia within reach : "The best and the brightest" --
post-World War II science and technology policy in the United States and western Europe and the triumph of the social sciences ; On misreading Frankenstein : how scientific and technological advances have changed traditional criticisms of utopianism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries --
6. Utopia reconsidered. The growing retreat from space exploration and other megaprojects ; Nuclear power : its rise, fall, and possible revival --
Maine Yankee as a case study ; The declining belief in inventors, engineers, and scientists as heroes, in experts as unbiased, and in science and technology as social panaceas ; Contemporary prophets for profit : the rise and partial fall of professional forecasters ; Post-colonial critiques of western science and technology as measures of "progress" --
7. The resurgence of utopianism. The major contemporary utopians and their basic beliefs ; Social media : utopia at one's fingertips ; Recent and contemporary utopian communities ; The Star Trek empire : science fiction becomes less escapist ; Edutopia : George Lucas and others ; The fate of books and newspapers : utopian and dystopian aspirations --
8. The future of utopias and utopianism. The "scientific and technological plateau" and the redefinition of progress --
Conclusion: Why utopia still matters today and tomorrow.
Series Title: Wiley-Blackwell brief histories of religion.
Responsibility: Howard P. Segal.
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This brief history connects the past and present of utopian thought, from the first utopias in ancient Greece, right up to present day visions of cyberspace communities and paradises.  Read more...

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"Segal does a good job of surveying the history of utopias, particularly focusing on the connections with science and technology. Histories of this topic tend to highlight the religious or cultural Read more...

 
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