Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-45s75 Total loading time: 0.303 Render date: 2021-11-29T22:58:10.566Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

8 - Feminism and utopianism

from Part II - Literature

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2010

Gregory Claeys
Affiliation:
Royal Holloway, University of London
Get access

Summary

Feminists have joined in celebrating and critiquing utopianism. On the one hand they have profited from the socio-political changes that visions of better societies have impelled; on the other, they have called into question utopias that depict static perfection - societies so ideal that they have nowhere to go, rely on rigid hierarchies and use coercion to maintain their perfect order. Thomas More's Utopia (1516) epitomizes the traditional version: it is fully mapped, boasting uniform towns that are geometrically organized with a centrally located seat of power from which the sovereign can conduct surveillance. Infrastructure supports the discipline of inhabitants; architecture and institutions encourage certain behaviours and discourage others. Ancient books, repeated rituals, pervasive symbols and signs ground authority in the traditional utopia. Clothing is issued and regulated. Dissenters are expelled or incarcerated. Such traditional utopias have also been called 'classical', 'blueprint', or 'end-state' utopias, and many critics have concurred that, even though inhabitants are provided for, such visions are distasteful. Despite readers' admiration for the wit and inventiveness of More's Utopia, few would want to live there. Women in particular have fared poorly in traditional blueprint utopias, where they have been forced to labour endlessly and bow to humourless patriarchs.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
8
Cited by

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Feminism and utopianism
  • Edited by Gregory Claeys, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature
  • Online publication: 28 September 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521886659.008
Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Feminism and utopianism
  • Edited by Gregory Claeys, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature
  • Online publication: 28 September 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521886659.008
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Feminism and utopianism
  • Edited by Gregory Claeys, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature
  • Online publication: 28 September 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521886659.008
Available formats
×