Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Utopia in a liberal world facing crisis. Analysis of the new «grammars of change»

Nicolas Marquis


The decline of utopia in some western intellectual environments has become an object of interest for scientists and essayists in these last few years. Yet, little has been done to analyze the common sense production of utopias or dystopias. This article will make use of the results of a statistical survey (n=2774) to describe what can be called, in reference to Wittgenstein’s philosophy, «the grammars of change», i.e., a more or less shared representation of «what is wrong» with society, but also of the real or illusionary possibilities to transform society. The article focuses on a striking line of tension. While some people still value political action as the bearer of a possible change, most interviewees consider it obsolete and unreliable. These people, who are so skeptical about politics, tend on the contrary to (over)invest in the idea that the power of change lies within the individual, in everybody’s changing their own values and attitudes.

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