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Title: Left/Right and thinking about politics
Author: Hoare, George Thomas Benjamin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 9715
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Since its birth at the time of the French Revolution, Left/Right has been a key tool for understanding politics. This thesis investigates how we think about politics using Left/Right: how it shapes, constrains and interacts with our most deeply-held conceptions of politics, how its meaning and implications have developed historically and in the British context, and why it might warrant the attention of the student of ideologies. After outlining the methodological underpinnings of the study and histories of Left/Right, the thesis examines uses of Left/Right in a range of contexts of actual thinking about politics. Left/Right is widely used in both the academic study of politics and popular commentary on British politics. The early New Left in Britain in the late 1950s and early 1960s is studied as a group attempting to influence the discourse around the political label “the Left”; a section of the neo-conservative New Right in Britain in the 1980s, around The Salisbury Review, is analysed as a political group with a complicated relationship to the political label “the Right”. Left/Right emerges as an element of the contested “common sense” of politics. Further, it is argued that some elements of common sense, such as Left/Right, may be expressed through narratives. Left/Right is theorized as a political narrative, or as a story about politics. The concept of political narrative explores the possibility that Left/Right may be susceptible to “interpretation”, both in terms of the assumptions about how politics is done and how politics should be done that underlie it, and more complexly in its relationship with a master narrative of political conflict understood as class struggle. Students of ideologies can learn much about how we think about and do our politics by attending to Left/Right.
Supervisor: Freeden, Michael Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political ideologies ; Ideologies ; Left/Right ; political narrative ; Gramsci ; political ideologies