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Reviewed by:
  • Utopia and Utopianism: Utopian Studies Journal, No.3
  • Fátima Vieira
Alex-Alban Gómez Coutouly , dir. Utopia and Utopianism: Utopian Studies Journal, No. 3. Madrid: University Book, 2009. 230 pp. Paperback, ISSN: 1886-4120.

The latest issue of Utopia and Utopianism confirms its vocation to publish "works of interest to the scientific community" and promote "research and teaching in Utopian Studies at the university level." Following the policy of the first (2006) and second (2007) issues, the third presents articles in English (ten), Spanish (two), French (two), and Portuguese (one). The fact that most texts have been written in English certainly makes the journal more interesting for those who do not master the other languages. This does not mean that the authors are of British or American nationality, though. The list of the authors' affiliations is impressive indeed, as the universities mentioned are those of Alaska-Anchorage, Antsiranana, Beira Interior, Campinas, Columbia, Lecce, Limerick, New South Wales, Parma, Pavia, Plymouth, Saitama, Sassari, Stuttgart, and Sydney and the Kerishen Secondary School in Brest. This list certainly meets the editor's confessed ambition of making the journal truly international and testifies to the respect it has shown to its peer-review system and careful editorial work.

The opening description of the "editorial line" (written in Spanish and French only) broadens the field of utopian studies, inviting possible contributors to write about any topic that may add to the knowledge of the "Utopian Republic," from its origins in Greek antiquity to our days. And in fact the fifteen essays gathered in this issue testify to the stated desire to widen the field of utopian studies and embrace a variety of reflections on utopia and utopianism. [End Page 188]

It has been the editorial policy of the journal, right from its beginning, to present the articles without any visible concern for underlining possible links between them. Still, a clearer organization could well have contributed to enhancing the relevance of the different essays to the field of utopian studies. A good example of this can be found in the articles by Jackson and Grace and by Wiechern, both concerned with a (complementary) reflection on the utopian vision within Leviathan. Three other articles can also be seen as complementary, as they approach utopia and utopianism from a theoretical point of view, whereas other articles deal with more specific case studies.

The three theoretical approaches cited above certainly are worth mentioning, since they deal with topics that are crucial to this field of study. Malcolm Miles calls for a rereading of Marcuse's idea of the end of utopia, restating Marcuse's dilemma and offering possible explanations and new views for it. Arrigo Colombo puts forward a careful description of the concepts of "historical utopias" and "literary utopias" and suggests that we should read Thomas More's Utopia as a "project offered to the humanity," its main concern being a deep reflection on the idea of justice. And Frederico Zuolo draws our attention to some formal criteria that may enable us to distinguish between utopia and ideal theory.

Apart from Rui Romão's essay on the tension between Art and Nature, which provides the ground for the construction of utopias, Tsuyoshi Yuki's reflection on labor-money theories from Marx to Owen and the last article on "utopia and public administration," where Gonzalo Sanz Pérez defends a broad definition of utopia and considers that the concept, as a sum of metaphors, has always been present in the historical evolution of modern political philosophy (thus being also related to the idea of administration), all the other articles deal with case studies, propounding analyses of different utopian authors or utopian works. Such is the case of the articles on Hobbes; Berriel's study of Campanella's utopian imagination; Widdicombe's reflection on Hawthorne's "struggle for utopia"; and Pissarello's consideration of the failure of the community of Rananim, the utopian project devised by D. H. Lawrence. Four literary utopias also deserve close examination on the part of the contributors: Nivoelisoa Galibert reflects on Libertalia, a pirate utopia from the eighteenth century set in Madagascar, whereas Hans Ulrich Seeber shows how laissez-faire liberalism...


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