Real utopian sociology is a sociology and type of emancipatory social science created and practiced by Erik Olin Wright. The seemingly contradictory term is literal, as the goal of real utopian sociology is finding utopian projects in the world as it exists and systematically evaluating their potential to replace systems of domination, particularly capitalism. Simply put, real utopian sociology is the scientific and pragmatic pursuit of studying utopian models for society as it could exist, and pathways to get there.
Since 1991 Wright has organized a series of workshop conferences known as The Real Utopian Project that model the practice of real utopian sociology. The conferences are sponsored by the A.E. Havens Center for Social Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and structured around "a provocative manuscript that lays out the basic outlines of a radical institutional proposal." This manuscript is then sent to 15-20 scholars, who write essays on the topic. Prior to the conference these essays are circulated to all the conference participants and then each is discussed at the conference. Following the conference, participants have the opportunity to revise their work before it's collectively published in Verso's Real Utopias Project series; with the exception of papers from the first 1991 conference, which were not published as a series.
Past conference topics include: Basic Income Grants; Secondary Associations and Democratic Governance; A Model for Market Socialism, which was organized around the book, A Future for Socialism, rather than a manuscript; Efficient Redistribution in Advanced Capitalism; Deepening Democracy; Rethinking Redistribution; Pensions and the Control of Capital Accumulation; Institutions for Gender Egalitarianism: Creating the Conditions for Egalitarian Dual Earner/Dual Caregiver Families; Legislature by Lot; Pathways to a Cooperative Economy; and Democratizing Finance.
This article needs additional or more specific categories. (November 2018)