Chapter 2: Finding hope in hopeless times
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A retreat from hope to desire in utopian theorising in late modernity has encouraged the separation of fact from value in social enquiry. As fears of authoritarianism give way to piecemeal approaches to social reform at the expense of more radical transformation, utopia has shifted from being a goal to an open-ended process. Drawing on the work of Ruth Levitas, this chapter makes the case for developing utopia as a method of translating abstract expressions of desire into concrete articulations of hope. It traces the historical development of utopia within social enquiry since the 19th century and situates the emergence of utopia as method as a response to problems within the contemporary production of knowledge. It then applies this method in the context of criminal justice policy to demonstrate both the contemporary marginalisation of more radical responses to social problems and the potential of the utopian method for transcending this.