Tocqueville's Virus

Utopia and Dystopia in Western Social and Political Thought

By Mark Featherstone

© 2007 – Routledge

332 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415542470
pub: 2015-04-23
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415339612
pub: 2007-08-02
US Dollars$140.00

About the Book

In the 1850s the social and political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville spoke of ‘a virus of a new and unknown kind’ to explain the inexplicable failure of the French Revolution. This book uses Tocqueville’s idea of the virus to explore the fatal relationship between the concepts of utopia and dystopia in western social and political thought. It traces this relationship from Ancient Greece to post-modern America and attempts to untangle their apparently fatal connection through a new virology that might promote a less paranoid future for our global society.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Tocqueville’s Virus Part I: Ancients and Moderns 1. Freedom and Tyranny in Socrates and Plato 2. Friends, Enemies, and the Cosmology of Power Politics 3. The Mechanisation of Society and the Pathologies of the Self Part II: The Madness of Modernity 4. Modernity and Schizophrenia 5. Autism, Paranoia, Critique Part III: Totalitarianism 6. Arendt’s Theory of Totalitarianism 7. Arendt’s Paranoia Critique of Modernity. Conclusion: America, Nation of the Edge. Bibliography

About the Author

Mark Featherstone is Lecturer in Sociology at Keele University, UK. He has written widely on American mythology and social, political, and cultural theory.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Sociology

This series presents cutting-edge developments and debates within the field of sociology. It provides a broad range of case studies and the latest theoretical perspectives, while covering a variety of topics, theories and issues from around the world. It is not confined to any particular school of thought.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General