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Paul Blackledge

1 Marxism and history How are we to understand the nature of historical knowledge? The way that historians traditionally have answered this question has come under sustained attack since the 1980s in the wake of what has become known as the ‘cultural’ or ‘linguistic turn’. This shift in perspective can be understood as a reaction to two developments. Negatively, as Bonnell and Hunt have argued, the old positivistic assumption about the nature of history – that it consisted in the accumulation of facts collected by diligent historians – came increasingly to be

in Reflections on the Marxist theory of history
Open Access (free)
Kevin Harrison and Tony Boyd

Although Marxism and even anarchism are sometimes treated as if they are simply varieties of socialism, we consider that they have sufficiently distinctive characteristics to warrant separate treatment. Starting with Marxism, we examine Marx’s theories of history, economics and politics before discussing the controversies within Marx-inspired political organisations in the

in Understanding political ideas and movements
Alan Johnson

better that the core of classical Marxism was its theory of human self-emancipation; few were better able or more willing, none the less, to critique the obstacles to self-emancipation, the footholds for authoritarianism within the very same tradition; and fewer still understood that Marxism needed to negotiate articles of conciliation (not surrender) with liberalism if all those obstacles were to be overcome. A popular and democratic Marxism ‘The principle of self-emancipation’, wrote Geras in 1971, ‘is central, not incidental, to historical materialism.’ Armed

in The Norman Geras Reader
Roger Spalding and Christopher Parker

newer theoretical positions that developed both out of and in opposition to Marxism. Elite social groups occupied, until relatively recently, a disproportionate share of the historical record. This was, no doubt, partly the product of the class orientation of historians, but it was also because such elite groups’ ideas, attitudes and beliefs were much more fully documented than those of other social groups. The study of popular culture, as expressed in customs, songs and festival could and indeed was seen as a corrective to this bias. 4 What, it might be asked

in Historiography
Mark Harvey

1 Journeying through Marxism This book is the unlikely product of two people who somehow managed to collaborate across what was historically a yawning sectarian chasm: one with a Trotskyist formation (Norman Geras) and one with a Maoist one (myself ). This by no means exhausts the possible incompatibilities between someone with a long and prolific academic career, and someone with a truncated one; a dedicated political philosopher, and a disciplinary floater between history, political economy and sociology. And yet, close friends from undergraduate days in the

in Inequality and Democratic Egalitarianism
Yasmeen Daifallah

217 9 Marxism and historicism in the thought of Abdullah Laroui Yasmeen Daifallah Like many of his generation of Arab thinkers, the Moroccan historian Abdullah Laroui (b. 1933) is often described as a defector from Marxism. In Laroui’s case, the defection is mostly described as one to liberalism, or to a state-​centred modality of liberalism that Ibrahim Abu Rabi’ calls ‘liberal étatism’.1 This purported change of heart is usually explained in terms of Laroui’s supposed adaptation to the changing tides of Arab politics that, once sympathetic to leftist

in Colonial exchanges
Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

3 Antisemitism, critical theory and the ambivalences of Marxism Citizens, let us think of the basic principle of the International: Solidarity. Only when we have established this life-giving principle on a sound basis among the numerous workers of all countries will we attain the great final goal which we have set ourselves. (Karl Marx – a speech given following a congress of the First International, 8

in Antisemitism and the left
Mark Edele

This chapter recounts the life, times and works of Moshe Lewin, a major historian of Stalinism. It shows how his life as a political activist and wartime refugee to the Soviet Union structured his later scholarship. The chapter also explores Lewin’s influence on a younger cohort of scholars, his efforts at field and institution-building, and the legacy of his work on Stalinism.

in Debates on Stalinism
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Mass and Propaganda. An Inquiry Into Fascist Propaganda (Siegfried Kracauer, 1936)
Nicholas Baer

Written in French exile, the following text by Siegfried Kracauer from December 1936 outlines a research project that the German-Jewish intellectual undertook with funding from the Institute for Social Research. The work outlined here would be a study of totalitarian propaganda in Germany and Italy through sustained comparison with communist and democratic countries, especially the Soviet Union and the United States. Appearing in English translation for the first time, this document from Kracauer‘s estate is crucial for a full understanding of his career as a sociologist, cultural critic, film theorist and philosopher, demonstrating the global scope of his engagement with cinema, mass culture and modernity.

Film Studies
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Material Gothic
Stephen Shapiro

As Gothic works knock the stuffing out their subject and splatter the remains over the page and screen, their obsessive focus on an economy of decomposing bodies in distress makes a compelling case for the attraction they exert on materialist criticism. A broad and heterogeneous spectrum of left social and cultural critique has always relied on Gothic referents to make descriptive sense of the teratology of life within societies dominated by the bourgeoisie. Marx‘s Capital begins, after all, by seeing the ‘monstrous ungeheure accumulation of commodities’ as the symptom of something gone terribly wrong in liberal political economy.1 What, though, if the Gothic codex is more than simply ornamental language or images added to the otherwise dry bones of philosophical, political, and economic writings and is itself a mode of critical inquiry into capitalist modernity that may also interrogate classical Marxisms precepts and underexplored aspects? If Marxism has depended on Gothic referents to make its point, can Gothic return the favor by thinking through obstacles and potentialities within familiar Marxist claims? In this light, we mean ‘material Gothic’ as something greater than simply a less provocative name for Marxist-inflected readings of Gothic works, and understand it as a project in which Gothic studies can inform and reshape cultural and historical materialism.

Gothic Studies