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Green Utopias: Environmental Hope Before and After Nature

Green Utopias: Environmental Hope Before and After Nature

Lisa Garforth

ISBN: 978-0-745-68473-4

Dec 2017, Polity

208 pages

In Stock



Environmentalism has relentlessly warned about the dire consequences of abusing and exploiting the planet's natural resources, imagining future wastelands of ecological depletion and social chaos. But it has also generated rich new ideas about how humans might live better with nature.

Green Utopias explores these ideas of environmental hope in the post-war period, from the environmental crisis to the end of nature. Using a broad definition of Utopia as it exists in Western policy, theory and literature, Lisa Garforth explains how its developing entanglement with popular culture and mainstream politics has shaped successive green future visions and initiatives. In the face of apocalyptic, despairing or indifferent responses to contemporary ecological dilemmas, utopias and the utopian method seem more necessary than ever.

This distinctive reading of green political thought and culture will appeal across the social sciences and humanities to all interested in why green utopias continue to matter in the cultivation of ecological values and the emergence of new forms of human and non-human well-being.

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  • Chapter 1
  • Introduction: utopia, environment and nature
  • Chapter 2
  • Environmentalism: from crisis to hope
  • Chapter 3
  • Deep ecology: wild nature, radical visions
  • Chapter 4
  • Utopian fiction: imagining the sustainable society
  • Chapter 5
  • No future: green utopias between apocalypse and adaptation
  • Chapter 6
  • After nature: ecological utopianism from limits to loss
  • Chapter 7
  • Conclusion: long live the green utopia?
"This subtle, lucid and measured account charts the changing and conflicting discourses of limits, sustainability, wildness, adaptation and apocalypse. With clarity and care, Lisa Garforth's distinctive use of social theory explains and counters the difficulty of thinking (beyond) crisis and the importance of the utopian lens in exploring possible futures."
Ruth Levitas, University of Bristol

"Green Utopias moves from the romantic eco-utopian interventions of the 1960s infused by hope for a redeemable nature to the realistic, yet stubbornly utopian, manoeuvres of the Anthropocene. Garforth articulates a utopian method informed by "green hope" that "unsettles" capitalist hegemony and enables humanity to live creatively with "multiple ecologies and nonhuman others." This is essential reading for all citizens of the world."
Tom Moylan, University of Limerick