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Title: The decline and fall of western Marxism
Author: Chen, I. C.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis is an attempt to reconstruct the decline and fall of Western Marxism as a theoretical-political discourse. 'Western Marxism' is taken to mean specifically the Marxist theories developed from the aftermath of the First World War onwards outside the Soviet Union and the official Communist Parties. The thesis provides a critical assessment of the successive restatements of Marxism since the 1960s. This study has three closely related aims. First, to examine the contours of Western Marxism through a thematic exposition of its most distinctive preoccupations: historical materialism, class theory, the question of ideology, and the politics of socialism. Second, to assess the success of the stories of revisionist attempts, and clarify how such attempts result in the deconstruction of Marxist theory. Third, to explore the ways in which Marxist theory has proved to be unreconstructable. The thesis takes the following form. The first chapter recounts the crisis-ridden development of historical materialism towards its dissolution. The second chapter examines the decline of Marxist class theory. The third chapter focuses on the question of ideology, and considers how the 'class and ideology' doctrine has proved to be exhausted. The last chapter deals with the demise of Marxist socialism in relation to the difficulties of Marxist political theory and its anti-market ideal. The legacy of Western Marxism has been the object of successive intellectual debates since the late 1970s. Yet arguably none of the previous contributions evaluate the decline of Western Marxism systematically. The thesis aims to fill this conspicuous absence and to clarify the issues raised by current debates on the legacy of Western Marxism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available