Sociology 929. REAL UTOPIAS

Fall 2013


2013 Syllabus


Weekly Reading Interrogations & Agendas



1.     9/4

Utopian thought and Real Utopias


2.     9/11

Utopian thought and Real Utopias



3.     9/18

Participatory budgeting

Interrogations Agenda

4.     9/25

Economic democracy: general considerations

Interrogations Agenda

5.     10/2

Worker cooperatives

Interrogations Agenda

6.     10/9

Peer-to-peer collaborative production

Interrogatioms Agenda

7.     10/16

Unconditional basic income

Interrogations Agenda

8.     10/24


Interrogations Agenda

9.     10/30

Participatory economics: debate with Robin Hahnel

Interrogation Agenda

10.  11/7

Community Organizing and Real Utopias

Interrogation Agenda

11.  11/14

Environmental Real Utopias: ecovillages, transition towns, plenitude

Interrogation Agenda

12.  11/21

Democratizing Finance

Interrogation Agenda

No Session

Thanksgiving break

Interrogation Agenda

13.  12/5

Cities: visit by Yves Cabannes

Interrogation Agenda

14.  12/7-8

end of semester weekend workshop





Weekly reading assignments for Sociology 929. Real Utopias



Sessions 1 & 2. Utopian Thought and Real Utopias


       Erik Olin Wright, "Transforming Capitalism through Real Utopias," American Sociological review, February, 2013



Session 3. Participatory Budgeting


     Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright, Deepening Democracy (Verso: 2003)

           Chapter 1. Thinking About Empowered Participatory Governance

           Chapter 2. Participation, Activism and Politics: The Porto Alegre Experiment, by Gianpaolo Baiocchi


     Gianpaolo Baiocchi and Ernesto Ganuza, "Participatory Budgeting as if Emancipation Mattered", Politics & Society, forthcoming


Session 4. Economic democracy and cooperatives: general theoretical considerations


Tom Malleson. After Occupy: Economic Democracy for the 21st Century (Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2014), pp.18-93 (especially focus on pp.39-93)


Henry Hansman, The Ownership of Enterprise (Harvard University Press, 1996). pp. 11-49, 66-119



Session 5. Worker Ownership


Trevor Hyman-Young, "Union Cab: Managing Growth and Deepening Democracy in a Worker Cooperative" in Borowiak, C., Dilworth, R., and Reynolds, A. (eds.) Exploring Cooperatives: Economic Democracy and Community Development in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Press.


Trevor Hyman-Young, "Innovation for a Reason: A Theory of Organizational Authority and Innovation" (a paper about Mondragon), paper presented at the 2013 ASA meetings.


Selection from Trevor Hyman-Young, "Organizational Authority and Innovation: Democratic Employee Ownership in the Automated Manufacturing Equipment Industry", PhD dissertation in progress, selections t.b.a.


Billeaux, M., Reynolds, A., Young-Hyman, T., Zayim, A., 2011. "Worker Ownership Case Study: Isthmus Engineering and Manufacturing" U.W. Center for Cooperatives, Case Study Series.


Daphne Perkins Berry and Stu Schneider "Improving the Quality of Home Health Aide Jobs: A Collaboration between Organized Labor and a Worker Cooperative" in Edward J. Carberry (Ed.), Employee Ownership and Shared Capitalism: New Directions and Debates for the

21st Century, LERA Research Volume, 2011.


Matt Hancock, Compete to Cooperate: the cooperative district of Imola (Bacchilega editore, 2007), The Imola Model, pp. 53-93 (only odd-numbered pages)


Joseph R. Blasi and Douglas L. Kruse, "Broad-based Worker Ownership and Profit Sharing: Can These Ideas Work in the Entire Economy?" unpublished manuscript, 2012


Special issue of the magazine Yes! On worker cooperatives:


Session 6. Peer-to-peer mutualism


Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks (Yale University Press, 2006). Available for free download at: Chapters 1-4, 11-12


Yochai Benkler, "Practical Anarchism", Politics & Society, 41:2, June 2013, pp. 213-251



Session 7. Unconditional Basic Income


Bruce Ackerman, Anne Alstott and Philippe van Parijs, Redesigning Distribution (Verso, 2006)

     c.1 Philippe van Parijs, "Basic Income: a simple and powerful idea for the twenty-first century,"3-42

c.4 Erik Olin Wright, "Basic Income, Stakeholder grants, and class Analysis", 91-100 

c.7 Barbara Bergman, "A Swedish style Welfare State or Basic Income: which should have priority?"130-142


Choose two other chapters to read:


c.2 Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott, "Why Stakeholding?"

c.3 Stuart White, "The Citizen's Stake and Paternalism"

c.5 Carole Pateman, "Democratizing Citizenship"

c.6 Julian Le Grand, "Implementing Stakeholder grants: the British case"

c.8 Irwin Garfinkle, et. al. "The effects of a basic income guarantee on poverty"

c.9 Guy Stading, "CIG, COAG and COG" a comment on a debate."

c.10 Philippe van Parijs, "Basic income versus Stakeholder grants"

c.11 Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott, "Macro-Freedom"


Philippe van Parijs, "The Universal Basic Income: why utopian thought matters and how sociologists can contribute to it, "Politics and Society, 41-2, June 2013, pp. 171-182


Erik Olin Wright, "Basic Income as a Socialist Project" (Basic Income Studies, issue #1, 2006)



Session 8. Randomocracy and Policy Juries


John Gastil and Robert Richards, Making Direct Democracy Deliberative through Random Assemblies, Politics & Society, 41:2, June, 2013, pp. 253-282


Amy Lang, But is it For Real? The British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly as a model of state-sponsored citizen empowerment”, Politics & Society, 2007


Harry Brighouse and Erik Olin Wright, “A Proposal to Transform the House of Lords into a Citizens Assembly,” unpublished manuscript, 2006



 Session 9. Participatory economics: debate with Robin Hahnel


         Robin Hahnel, "A Participatory Economy" Forthcoming in New Left Project (

         Erik Olin Wright, "Thoughts on the Institutions for a Participatory Economy: a dialogue with Robin Hahnel," New Left Project (

         Robin Hahnel, "The Major Point of Contention: response to Erik Olin Wright" New Left Project (



Session 10. Community Organizing as a Real Utopia


(1) Speer, P. W., & Christens, B. D. (2012). Local community organizing and change: Altering policy in the housing and community development system in Kansas CityJournal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 22(5), 414-427.

The above is a case study of a particular campaign led by an organizing initiative in Kansas City, MO called Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO). It is a multi-issue congregation-based organizing initiative that, in addition to its work on housing and community development, has led a campaign to reform payday lending laws in Missouri. A recent ProPublica piece provides some insight into their opposition in this campaign:

(2) The payday playbook: How high-cost lenders fight to stay legal  []

These CCO examples can provide insight into what community organizing is, and how it works. A third reading, focused on youth organizing, provides some additional insights into how organizing works through two case examples, but also speaks to some of the effects that it has on participants.

(3) Christens, B. D., Collura, J. J., Kopish, M., & Varvodic, M. (2014). Youth organizing for school and neighborhood improvement. In K. L. Patterson & R. Silverman (Eds.), Schools and urban revitalization: Rethinking institutions and community development. (pp. 151-66). New York: Routledge. [attached]

(4) Christens, B. D. (2010). Public relationship building in grassroots community organizing: Relational intervention for individual and systems changeJournal of Community Psychology, 38(7), 886-900.

This is a piece on the relational dynamics and values that undergird many community organizing processes. This hones in on some of the ways that organizing processes challenge cultural norms.

(5) Building bridges, building power: Developments in institution-based community organizing

This is a piece that will provide background for discussions of the scalability/ feasibility of the field of community organizing. A recent field-scan provides details on the state of the field and the potential, specifically of institution-based community organizing:



Session 11. Environmental Real Utopias: Transition towns Ecovillages, Plenitude


        John Urry, Climate change and society (Polity Press, 2011), pp. 122-168


        John Barry, The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability (Oxford, 2012)

                  chapter 3, "Resilience, Transition, and Creative Adaptability,"  pp.78-116

                       chapter 6, "Green Political Economy II: Solidarity and Sharing", pp. 180-214


    Rob Hopkins, The Transition companion (Chelssea Green Publishing, 2011) available at:


Session 12. Democratizing Finance


Fred Block, "Democratizing Finance," forthcoming in Politics & Society


Marguerite Mendell and Rocío Nogales, "Solidarity Finance: An Evolving Landscape," Universitas Forum, Vol. 3, No. 2, June 2012


Matt Flannery, "Kiva and the Birth of Person-to-Person Microfinance," Innovations / winter & spring 2007 pp. 31-56


Kevin Lawton and Dan Marom, The Crowd-funding Revolution (McGraw Hill, 2013).

      chapter 5, "The rise of crowdfunding."  chapter 9, "Infrastructure and ecosystems." pp. 47-66, 121-144


Session 13. Real Utopian Cities: visit by Yves Cabannes


      Yves Cabannes, "Urban movements and NGOs: So near, so far," The City (online journal), published June 18, 2013