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Title: The evolution of socialism in later nineteenth century Britain : a study of social structure and working class belief
Author: Ainsworth, Alan John
ISNI:       0000 0001 3403 2930
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1978
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1. The central theoretical focus of this study which seeks to offer a sociological account of the nature of the labour movement and socialism in the latter half of the nineteenth century is strictly speaking the genesis and evolution of working class political beliefs. It is intended that this should be considered in relation to the broader structural and ideological environment of the period, as well as within the experiential milieu of the working class community on the local level. 2. In Chapter 1, a number of prefactory remarks are advanced and the main theoretical issues under consideration are discussed. Chapter 2 comprises a chronology of socialism and working class movements during the period 1850-1906. It is hoped that this chronological outline will provide a basis for the subsequent analysis. 3. The two chapters which comprise Part I of this study attempt to elaborate a theoretical perspective, by reference to which the trajectory and nature of British socialism and working class social belief in the latter half of the nineteenth century may be better understood. Chapter 3 considers the major Marxist and sociological approaches to this question, stressing in particular the themes of social structure, ideology and class consciousness. A variety of problems inherent in these theories will be identified in Chapter 4 which, building upon a critical analysis of the approaches to the socialist movement, concludes by proposing a theoretical framework adequate to the complex historical and sociological issues apparent in this area. 4. The three chapters which comprise Part II aim to provide a general account of the broader structural and ideological context of the period. In Chapter 5, the development of the economy and social structure is discussed, stressing, in particular, changes in this sphere during the closing decades of the last century. Chapter 6 complements this with an account of the major ideological forms and their developments during these years. Finally, the themes of these two chapters are drawn together by Chapter 7, in which the broad trajectory of socialism and the labour movement at the societal level is documented in relation to the foregoing analysis. 5. The macro-structural and ideological formation of later nineteenth century Britain as documented in Part II provides the overall context for the third part of this study: an examination of the workings of certain micro-sociological processes. Here, the focus will be upon socialism and working class life, work and religion in Lancashire between about 1890-1906. In accordance with the theoretical perspective outlined above, this part of the study will highlight the innovative role of working people themselves in the development of social consciousness. Chapter 8 sets the background to political change in the north west between 1868-1906 and documents the course of labour organisation and politics during this period. Chapter 9 comprises a detailed examination of the activities, agitations and conceptions of socialism prevalent at the branch level in Lancashire in short, an account of socialist branch culture. Chapters 10-12 aim to situate these socialist beliefs and organisational forms within the working class community of later nineteenth century Lancashire. Attention is here devoted to, firstly, industrial structure, wages and work processes; secondly, home and community patterns; and finally, nonconformity and popular religious belief. 6. Finally, Part IV comprises one chapter in which a number of concluding remarks are advanced.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain