Date: Wednesday August 10, 2016
For some 20 years Professor Erik Olin Wright and his colleagues have been documenting, exploring and advancing theories and practices of “real utopias.” The “Real Utopias” project has entailed developing a sociology that joins attention not only to the actual, but also to the possible, in a context of urgent critique of social oppression, injustice, poverty and environmental degradation. Dr. Wright’s work has sought to develop theoretically and empirically sound arguments about emancipatory possibilities for alternatives to the dominant institutions that have generated problems of unintended consequences, self-destructive dynamics and difficult dilemmas of normative trade-offs—in short, the crises for equality, democracy and sustainability that are so urgent in the present era. Dr. Wright’s address at the 2016 World Congress of Rural Sociology will present his most recent thinking on the theory and practice of “real utopias” and consider connections to the evidence of both challenges and promising experiments in diverse rural contexts across the globe.
|Erik Olin Wright has taught sociology at the University of Wisconsin since 1976 where he is currently C. Wright Mills Professor of Sociology and Vilas Distinguished Research Professor. His academic work has been centrally concerned with reconstructing the Marxist tradition of social theory and research in ways that attempt to make it more relevant to contemporary concerns and more cogent as a scientific framework of analysis. His empirical research has focused especially on the changing character of class relations in developed capitalist societies. Since 1992 he has directed The Real Utopias Project which explores a wide range of proposals for new institutional designs that embody emancipatory ideals and yet are attentive to issues of pragmatic feasibility. He was president of the American Sociological Association in 2011-12.
This session is co-sponsored by the International Rural Sociological Association and the Rural Sociological Society.