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date: 14 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

In popular usage both ideology and utopia have negative, and somewhat similar, connotations. Utopia is thought to imply something naively idealistic and, as a result, impossible to achieve due to the constraints of the ‘real world’ or because ‘human nature’ will get in the way. Ideology is also thought to imply being out of touch with the ‘real world’ by being blinkered by a set of beliefs that distorts one’s understanding of that ‘real world’.

This chapter examines the recent history of the relationship between the two concepts by examining the way they are treated by their best known theorists, Ernst Bloch, Michael Freeden, Fredric Jameson, Ruth Levitas, Karl Mannheim, and Paul Ricoeur. The chapter argues that while they are closely related and one can become the other, they can also be separated because they reflect different ways of understanding the world.

Keywords: utopia, ideology, Ernst Bloch, Michael Freeden, Fredric Jameson, Ruth Levitas, Karl Mannheim, Paul Ricoeur

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