This article explores the involvement of H.G. Wells in the early institutional development of sociology in Britain. It addresses Wells's aspiration to a Chair of Sociology as the context for his claim that that ‘the creation of utopias – and their exhaustive criticism – is the proper and distinctive method of sociology’, and the implications of a hundred years of suppression of utopianism and normativity within the discipline. It argues that Wells was substantially right, and that if sociology embraced the more utopian method of the Imaginary Reconstitution of Society, it would inform a greater range of social alternatives for confronting ecological and economic crises.
Bibliographical notePublisher: Wiley
Other: This article won the Sociological Review prize for outstanding scholarship in 2011