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Title: Renewing left-wing ideas in late twentieth-century Britain : Marxism Today, c. 1977-1994
Author: Shock, Gregory
ISNI:       0000 0004 9356 623X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis explores how the political thought of left-wing authors based around the journal Marxism Today transformed between the late 1970s and the 1990s. Under the editorship of Martin Jacques, the journal became a site of major debates on the British left over the course of the period and its contributors came from a wide variety of intellectual, social and political backgrounds. I trace their changing approaches to a number of themes, assessing whether their revisionism was characterised by ideological capitulation to their political opponents on the right. Their reception of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci; attitudes to the boundaries of the state; debates about class, identity and new social movements; shifting perspectives on European integration; and the communitarian political thought of Geoff Mulgan are all charted and analysed in this thesis. Notwithstanding the preoccupation with ‘Thatcherism’ among the journal’s authors, this thesis complements recent revisionist historical scholarship which seeks to de-centre Thatcher’s government from histories of the 1980s and which complicates descriptions of the final decades of the twentieth century as an age of neo-liberal revolution. I illustrate the specific dynamics that shaped left-wing debate in the 1980s, arguing that these years were consequential to the revision of left-wing ideas and that the authors of Marxism Today departed significantly from dominant forms of twentieth-century British socialism. In examining the interventions made within the journal, in addition to a wide range of contemporary publications and archival material, I place the more famous essays and debates in their historical context where other historians and commentators have failed to pay due regard to the status of the journal’s articles as primary sources. Through the systematic treatment of Marxism Today from a history of political thought perspective, I demonstrate that the left was not a passive, defeated force in the period.
Supervisor: Jackson, Ben Sponsor: University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Eighties ; History of Political Thought ; Gramsci ; 1980s ; Thatcher ; Marxism Today ; Intellectual History ; Political Thought ; Marxism ; British History ; Thatcherism ; British Politics ; Stuart Hall ; Twentieth-century British History ; History ; Journalism ; Left-wing political thought