From the Pandemic to Utopia : The Future Begins Now book cover
1st Edition

From the Pandemic to Utopia
The Future Begins Now

  • Available for pre-order on March 22, 2023. Item will ship after April 12, 2023
ISBN 9781032355573
April 12, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
264 Pages

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Book Description

The coronavirus pandemic forces us to rethink our contemporaneity. It has brought to the surface dimensions of human fragility that partially contradict the euphoria and human hubris of the fourth industrial revolution (artificial intelligence) and aggravated the social inequality and racial discrimination that characterize our societies. From Pandemic to Utopia argues that the virus, rather than an enemy, must be viewed as a pedagogue; it is trying to teach us that the deep causes of the pandemic lie in our dominant mode of production and consumption. The systemic overload of natural resources creates a metabolic rift between society and nature that destabilizes the habitat of wild animals and the vital cycles of natural regeneration whereby pandemics become an increasingly recurrent phenomenon. In trying to take seriously this lesson the book proposes a paradigmatic shift from the current civilizatory model to a new one guided by a more equitable relationship between nature and society and the priority of life, both human and non-human.

Table of Contents


Part One: The 21st Century Presents Itself
1. The Pandemic and the Contradictions of Contemporaneity
2. Abyssal capitalism: the pandemic as business
3. The open veins of inequality and discrimination
4. Community resistance and self-organization
Part Two: The Future Starts Now
5. Three scenarios: between hell redux and kairós
6.  Toward a new, insurgent, and cosmopolitan declaration of human rights and duties
7. The paradigmatic transition: a world to accommodate many worlds
8. First steps of the paradigmatic transition

Epilogue: What if we failed? To Be Read in 2050

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Boaventura de Sousa Santos is Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Coimbra (Portugal), and Distinguished Legal Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books have been published in Portuguese, Spanish, English, Italian, French, German, Chinese, Danish, Romanian, Polish and Korean. Among his recent books in English are Decolonising the University: The Challenge of Deep Cognitive Justice (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2021); and Toward a New Legal Common Sense: Law, Globalization, and Emancipation (Cambridge University Press (3e 2020).


The COVID-19 pandemic came as a wake-up call for humanity. The modern myths of a full mastering of nature by humans and of permanent growth on a limited planet have fallen apart. As humanity, we need a paradigm shift, new ways of thinking, inhabiting and living in our world with nature of which we are a part, rather than against it. In this incisive and comprehensive book, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, a leading global thinker of our time, provides us with tools to fulfil this collective mission that will define the 21st century.

Geoffrey Pleyers, UCLouvain, Vice-President of the International Sociological Association

Only Boaventura de Sousa Santos could deliver epochal thinking of this scale. As a dialectic of fear and hope, he ties the necessity of utopianism to the possibilities of a world devastated but also made transparent by the pandemic.  

Michael Burawoy, University of California-Berkeley