Ruth Levitas

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Ruth Levitas (born 15 May 1949 in London) is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Bristol.[1] She is well known internationally for her research on utopia and utopian studies.[2]

Her book, The Concept of Utopia (1990), addresses the notion of the ideal society throughout European history. Her follow-on book, Utopia as Method: The Imaginary Reconstitution of Society (2013), makes the case that 'utopia should be understood as a method rather than a goal.'[3] She has formulated a program of sociology which is fundamentally utopian-focused in conventional sociological discourse.[4]

In The Inclusive Society?: Social Exclusion and New Labour (2005), Levitas introduced the idea of social exclusion as part of the new political language.[5] She also introduced the concepts of MUD (the moral underclass discourse), SID (the social integration discourse), and RED (the redistribution discourse), as tools for analysing social exclusion.[6]


In 2012 Levitas was awarded the Lyman Tower Sargent Distinguished Scholar Award by the North American Society for Utopian Studies.[7]


  1. ^ Bristol, University of. "Sociology, Politics and International Studies Directory". Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  2. ^ Sargent, Lyman Tower (15 August 2013). Freeden, Michael; Stears, Marc (eds.). Ideology and Utopia. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199585977.013.0016.
  3. ^ Levitas, Ruth (2013). Utopia as Method. doi:10.1057/9781137314253. ISBN 978-0-230-23197-9.
  4. ^ Ruth Levitas, Where there is no vision, the people perish: A utopian ethic for a transformed future, CUSP essay series on the Ethics of Sustainable Prosperity | No 5,
  5. ^ Levitas, Ruth (2005). The Inclusive Society?. doi:10.1057/9780230511552. ISBN 978-1-4039-4427-6.
  6. ^ Higate, Paul (2000). "The Inclusive Society? Social Exclusion and New Labour (Book Review)". Sociology. 34: 358–359. doi:10.1017/s0038038500300232.
  7. ^ "Lyman Tower Sargent Award for Distinguished Scholarship". 6 April 2013.

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