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Title: The social life of Utopia
Author: Nettleingham , David
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2013
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The 'collapse' of communism in the Soviet Union, and the resulting shockwave that unsettled the organised left across the world, came to define and close the story of the twentieth cenrury attempt to build for socialism. For the organisations of the British left, the period of the 19805 and 19905 saw major shifts both in attitude and organisational structure, weakening the strength of positions and influence that they held within the labour and union movements. However, following the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008, the concept of socialism has been revisited in academic discussion with the aim of reinvigorating it for the twenty-fIrst cennny. Drawing on an oral historical approach, the research presented here in thirtyfour interviews with left-wing activists, provides a new ground-level narrative on the development and operationalisation of socialist political thought and action. It is a narrative that contextualises established political commentary on socialism in Britain in the words of those who work towards a socialist society, founding our understanding in lived experience. This thesis develops and implements an analytical model based in generational theory in order to examine the development of political consciousness simultaneously in the short and long term; across the horizontal and vertical transmission of ideas and experiences within left-wing organisations and among activists. It argues that a generational approach allows a unique and vital perspective in understanding the social construction of ideology, analysis and purposeful action for social change. It provides a language in which we may better understand the complexity of the negotiated relationship between locational circumstances and canonical narratives; personal experience and ideological adherence. The thesis argues that this negotiated relationship is a dynamic two-way process of interaction, and that political consciousness must be understood in the locational appropriation of canonical history; the canon as a product of collective experience.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available