The influence of utopias and Leitbild on expectation dynamics

M. Dignum

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic


Current scientific frameworks on visions and expectations such as the sociology of expectations and the Leitbild perspective exclude utopianism. However, utopias are powerful guiding principles and the inclusions of utopias within analytical frameworks could enrich current approaches. Especially the Leitbild perspective excludes utopias explicitly (Dierkes et al., 1996; Grin and Grunwald 2000) and therefore omits its guiding properties. This paper argues that utopias should be included in frameworks to analyze visions. Grand technological visions often have utopian characteristics (Winner, 2004). A modern example is the vision of the hydrogen economy. This vision emerged in the 1970s and was accompanied with high expectations. Also around the year 2000 enthusiasm accompanying the hydrogen economy was high. The vision of a hydrogen economy was accompanied by utopian characteristics and investments were made to realize the grand vision. The paper formulates vision characteristics based on the inclusion of utopias. This argument will be theoretically founded and its conclusion is empirically illustrated. Section 1 focuses on utopianism and the Leitbild perspective and argues on a theoretical basis that utopianism should be included. Section 2 will focus on the scope of visions. Section 3 defines visions with the inclusion of utopias. Section 4 focuses on the analysis of visions. Section 5 briefly illustrates such an analysis with the example of the vision of the hydrogen economy. Section 6 forms a conclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Expectation-Building and Innovation Processes Workshop, September 17-18, 2009
Place of PublicationDübendorf, Switzerland
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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