Lucy Sargisson is Professor of Utopian Studies in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham. She is a pioneer and advocate for the study of utopianism in the social sciences. Her work crosses many disciplines, always asking 'What's wrong with the world and how could we make it a better place?' and 'What's wrong with our society and what might happen if we don't change things?'
Lucy is an active member of the profession, serving on the Steering Group of the Utopian Studies Society and, as part of her ongoing commitment to the research of intentional communities, she is a member of the CoHousing UK's Research Network. She was part of the team organizing the ESRC Seminar Series, 'Collaborative Housing and Community Resilience': http://collaborativehousing.net/about/.
She is Secretary of the Political Studies Association's 'Politics of Property' Specialist Group and an editor of two PSA journals: Political Studies and Political Studies Review. She is also a member of the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice at Nottingham and CONCEPT, Nottingham's Political Theory Centre.
I work on political utopias and utopianism. This includes eutopias (visions of a good society) and dystopias (nightmare scenarios about the future). It includes imaginary explorations of utopianism and also lived experiments. For example my research has included publications about religious fundamentalism, alternative lifestyles, intentional communities and feminist and environmentalist theories.
Much of my teaching has drawn on my research and I have offered modules on the following topics:
Political Utopianism (Level III)
Feminist Political Theory (Level III)
My most recent article is 'Lived Utopianism: everyday life and intentional communities', written with Lyman Tower Sargent: Communal Societies: 2017, 37:1. This article identifies a phenomenon of… read more
LUCY SARGISSON and LYMAN TOWER SARGENT, 2017. Lived Utopianism:: Everyday Life and Intentional Communities Communal Societies. 37(1), (In Press.)
LYMAN TOWER SARGENT AND LUCY SARGISSON, 2014. Sex in Utopia:: Eutopian and Dystopian Sexual Relations’ Utopian Studies. 25(2), 299-320
2014. Utopianism in the Architecture of New Urbanism and Cohousing. In: Green Utopianism:: Perspectives, Politics and Micro-Practices Routledge.
SARGISSON, L., 2012. Second-wave cohousing: a modern Utopia? Utopian Studies. 23(1), 28-56
My most recent article is 'Lived Utopianism: everyday life and intentional communities', written with Lyman Tower Sargent: Communal Societies: 2017, 37:1. This article identifies a phenomenon of 'lived utopianism', which we observe at work inside intentional communities. Lived utopianism involves living daily life a way that reflects shared criticisms of social norms and a (broadly) shared vision of a good life. Examining two ubiquitous themes of food and housework, we argue that attention to the role of the everyday is crucial. Everyday lived utopianism can embed radical change but at the same time it reveals the deep-seated tensions involved in trying to live a better life together. The paper calls for a new research agenda that undertakes wide and systematic examination of this transformative phenomenon.
My most recent book is 'Fools' Gold? Utopianism in the Twenty-First Century ( 2012, Palgrave Macmillan). Here I consider a number of different aspects of utopian thought and activity in our time, as manifested in architecture, theory, fiction and social experimentation. The book addresses such themes as religion, climate change, the internet, architecture and politics.
1. I played a small part in an ESRC seminar series with partners in five other UK universities and the UK Cohousing Network: 'Collaborative Communities and Community Resilience': http://collaborativehousing.net/about/.
2. I am working on a book collaboration with Professor Lyman Tower Sargent, 'Everyday Life in Utopia'. This is a wide-ranging study of everyday life in utopian fiction, theory and social experiments.
ESRC funded Seminar Series, 'Practical Utopias and Utopian Practices'. This was an exciting collaborative project with Professor Ruth Levitas (University of Bristol) and Professor Davina Cooper (University of Kent) and, in the course of five meetings of a period of two years, we encouraged academics and practitioners to consider utopian experiments with property, values, relationships and ontology, citizenship and space.
Previous books include a country-wide survey of intentional communities in New Zealand, funded by the British Academy and University of Nottingham, which forms part of an international collaborative project with Professor Lyman Tower Sargent at the University of Missouri USA. The manuscript based on this research 'Living in Utopia: New Zealand's Intentional Communities' was published by Ashgate in 2004.
My next long-term research project will examine practical utopian alternatives to private property.