978-0-8419-0240-4 / 0841902402

Socialism: The Active Utopia (Controversies in sociology ; 3)

by Bauman, Zygmunt

Publisher:Holmes & Meier Pub



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About the book:

Arguing that "utopian" is frequently used as a pejorative term used to discredit whatever it describes, Professor Bauman describes the positive contributions of the utopian tradition to theories of society and especially stresses the important contribution of socialism to the history of utopian thought. He asserts that utopian thinkers are particularly able to apply new perspectives to developments in particular societies and to realise the implications of present trends for the future. Applying these arguments to the history of socialist thought as a utopian system, the author maintains that socialism is by no means the discredited theory of society that it is often labelled. Professor Bauman believes that modern socialism now con-centrates on the irrationality of capitalism as a functioning means of organising the political economy of man and contrasts this new focus with an earlier denunciation of the injustice and inequalities of capitalism. In delineating the historical back-ground of these two different approaches to socialism, he argues that Russian social-ism was a distortion of the original socialist ideals which had envisioned the abolition of a hierarchical society. The author especially values Antonio Gramsci's criticisms of the "stateolatry" developed in the Soviet Union and Gramsci's own theories of an "historical bloc" that creates a match between a particular social structure and its cultural and political superstructure.

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