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Title: Socialism and nationalism : British Marxists and the national question after 1945
Author: Matthews, Wade
ISNI:       0000 0001 3621 5618
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2006
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1989, it is commonly suggested, marked the final victory of nationalism over socialism -a victory, it is further argued, with which Marxism was inherently unable to contend. Has Marxism failed to properly understand nationalism? The thesis will explore the nexus between socialism and nationalism in the work of a number of influential British Marxist intellectuals in the period after 1945. Eric Hobsbawm, E. P. Thompson, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Perry Anderson and Tom Nairn - all these important Marxist thinkers were concerned with the national question and how it impacted on the advance of socialism. Against conventional historiographical opinion which has argued that Marxism ignored and misunderstood nationalism, the thesis will argue that British Marxism consistently engaged with questions of nation and nationalism both in the terms of (Marxist) theory and from the perspective of (socialist) practice. The thesis will break new ground by considering the collective British Marxist engagement with the national question. The thesis will consider the British Marxist encounter with the national question in a number of historical, social and political contexts. From Thompson's attempt to appropriate nationhood for socialism in the nineteen fifties and during the period of the first New Left to Hobsbawm's critique of separatist nationalisms in the late nineteens eventies, from Williams's engagement with Welsh nationalist politics in the context of the rise of peripheral nationalisms in Britain to Anderson's understanding of the relationship between the nation state and capitalism in modern history, from Hall's understanding of Thatcherism as a form of national hegemony to Nairn's analysis of the British Left's nationalism in the context of Britain's entry into Europe - these and many other instances of the British Marxist engagement will be explored in the thesis. The thesis will conclude by suggesting that the British Marxist encounter with nationalism was marked by both illumination and antinomy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral