Imagining better societies: A social psychological framework for the study of utopian thinking and collective action

Vivienne Badaan, John T. Jost, Julian Fernando, Yoshihisa Kashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We present an integrative theoretical model that specifies social psychological mechanisms by which utopian thinking, which activates the social imagination, may enhance collective action intentions oriented toward social change and human progress. The model synthesizes complementary insights from interdisciplinary research programs on utopianism, hope, construal level, and system justification to identify mechanisms by which imagining better societies: (a) increases social hope, (b) yields an abstract mindset that bridges the psychological distance between the status quo (“here and now”) and a better possible future, (c) decreases system justification motivation, and (d) promotes social justice-oriented forms of collective action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12525
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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