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"Utopian" reform reconsidered : the case of Fourierism at Brook Farm

Rose, Anne C. (1980) "Utopian" reform reconsidered : the case of Fourierism at Brook Farm. Humanities Working Paper, 41. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA.

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were established in the hope that these would launch a peaceable revolution to displace competitive capitalism with a cooperative social alternative. This paper contests the common notion that communitarianism was no more than a "utopian" dream. It argues, first, that the realism of the movement must be measured by its adaptation to its historical setting and specifically, that the early nineteenth century was a period of transition to industrial capitalism in which other social options remained open. Second, it examines the case of the Brook Farm community at West Roxbury, Massachusetts, which adopted the social theory of Charles Fourier in 1844. Fourier's grasp of the basic principles of industrial organization and Fourierism's substantial working class following in New England are presented as evidence that this phase of the communitarian movement might have produced a functional social system. Its failure had less to do with the inexorable workings of historical forces than the decision of the reformers to abandon the crusade. Nevertheless, communitarian reform remains significant as a dramatic indication of the tangible social aspirations of the antebellum generation.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Group:Humanities Working Papers
Series Name:Humanities Working Paper
Issue or Number:41
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090803-154023532
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Official Citation:Rose, Anne C. "Utopian" reform reconsidered: the case of Fourierism at Brook Farm. Pasadena, CA: California Institute of Technology, 1979. Humanities Working Paper, No. 41.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14775
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:03 Aug 2009 23:07
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 00:52

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