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Title: The Cuban Revolution and the European New Left in the 1960s : a study of intellectual cross-fertilisation.
Author: Artaraz, Kepa.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3429 8528
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2001
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Current studies on the intellectual exchanges between the West and the Third World have tended to focus either on the phenomenon of the birth of the Third World in the post-War period or have concentrated instead on a political reading of these exchanges. The first group of studies has seen the emergence of the Third World in a manner that is unconnected to its political significance. The second group has been characterised by arguments that tend towards a negative reading of the role played by (mainly) European intellectuals in their relationship with movements of national liberation. These intellectuals, it is argued, imposed their idealistic visions of the potential for radical democracy on the new societies while alienating themselves from the societies of which they were part. Such is the standpoint of much of the literature that resorts to the notion of the' fellow traveller' . This thesis emphasises instead the common ground and mutual influence between the Third World as a historical formation in the Twentieth Century - itself partly the product of Western intellectual discourses - and the reaction its 'birth' provoked within certain sections of the European intelligentsia. The thesis argues that the intellectual commitment to the Third World characteristic of the 1960s and the dialogue that ensued can be interpreted as an attempt to define a universally valid concept of intellectual that was both and at the same time politically committed, yet independent. Focusing on one such case of Third World 'liberation' -the Cuban Revolution- and the role played by the New Left, this thesis employs Bourdieu's concept of 'intellectual field' in order to explore two main areas of concern. The first involves the identification of all the significant players in the process of crossfertilisation that took place between the Cuban Revolution and the European New Left and a detailed description of the part they played. This leads on to a consideration of the vociferous support lent to the Cuban Revolution by dominant intellectuals of the time but also to the importance that can be attached to a variety of intellectual groups in each of the countries concerned and to the role played by a number of publications such as New Left Review, Partisans or Pensamiento Critico as conduits of generic ideas that can be labelled as characteristic of the New Left field. The second main concern of this thesis lies in the analysis of some of the main ideas that circulated in the field. With regard to the concept of the Third World, it is argued that besides offering a commitment-conscious intelligentsia a useful symbolic element to partially fulfil their quest for self-definition, the concept was tied to Cuba's particular political transition in the 1960s. This transition went from a vision of Cuba as representative of a Third World that was presented as the space of 'neutrality and global peace' to one that saw it as the spark of 'global revolution'. Similarly, the notion of the intellectual underwent a mutation from a universalistlSartrean notion of the 'traditional' intellectual as an individual engaged with the times and representative of the conscience of society, to one that stressed the activist and revolutionary nature of the intellectual. The 'revolutionary' intellectual as a concept was re-discovered through a return to the orthodox language of a mythical golden Marxist past. In either case, the thesis argues, the language of communication and exchange between both sides of the Atlantic was dominated by a European New Left that was, on the whole, unable to marry the contradictory demands of power and intellect. The failure of this intellectual goal was further reinforced by the reality of a separation that became more acute after 1971.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Exchanges; West; Third World