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ASA President Lectures on Utopia

March 23, 2012

President of the American Sociological Association Erik Olin Wright lectured on “Real Utopias: Emancipatory Projects, Institutional Designs, Possible Futures” March 20, 2012. Dr. Wright is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. His empirical research has focused especially on the changing character of class structures in developed capitalist societies.

About Dr. Wright
Erik Olin Wright was born in Berkeley, California, in 1947, grew up in Kansas, and was educated at Harvard, Oxford, and the University of California-Berkeley. He has taught sociology at the University of Wisconsin since 1976 where he is currently Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. His academic work has been centrally concerned with reconstructing the Marxist tradition of social theory and research in ways that attempt to make it more relevant to contemporary concerns and more cogent as a scientific framework of analysis. His empirical research has focused especially on the changing character of class structures in developed capitalist societies. Since 1992 he has directed The Real Utopias Project which explores a wide range of proposals for new institutional designs that embody emancipatory ideals and yet are attentive to issues of pragmatic feasibility. He is currently president of the American Sociological Association.

His principal books include: The Politics of Punishment (New York: Harper and Row, 1973), Class, Crisis and the State (London: Verso, 1978), Classes (London: Verso, 1985), The Debate on Classes (London: Verso, 1990), Reconstructing Marxism: essays on Explanation and the Theory of History (with Elliott Sober and Andrew Levine. Verso, 1992); Interrogating Inequality (London: Verso, 1994); Class Counts: Comparative Studies in Class Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 1997, 2000); Deepening Democracy: institutional innovations in empowered participatory governance (with Archon Fung. London: Verso: 2003); Envisioning Real Utopias (Verso, 2010); and jointly with Joel Rogers, American Society: how it really works (W.W. Norton, 2011).

His website is www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright.

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