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Death Camps and Designer Dresses

The Liberal Agenda and the Appeal to 'Real Existing Socialism'

Lorna Finlayson

Political philosophers tend to notice their differences more than their similarities. I suggest that contemporary analytic political philosophy in fact exhibits a 'dominant paradigm', the main features of which are a commitment to liberal capitalism and a preference for the designing of 'just institutions.' To subscribe to this paradigm involves making a decision about how to manage the philosophical 'agenda.' In order to focus on certain issues within this paradigm, alternatives, most notably socialism, have to be excluded from prolonged consideration. A popular way of supporting this policy is by reference to the perceived failure of 'real existing socialism.' Taking the late political philosopher Brian Barry, among others, as an example, I argue that this argumentative strategy is unconvincing, and furthermore that its deployment tells a worrying story about the practice of political philosophy.

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Paul Nursey-Bray

Within European debates on the left about the future of the socialist project, particularly within the United Kingdom, market socialism has been enjoying a certain vogue over the last decade. It represents one of a number of approaches that have been canvassed in pursuit of a Third Way that would steer a course between the old authoritarian, state-controlled socialism of Soviet and Eastern European practice and the untrammelled excesses of a free market capitalist approach. It has claimed some influential supporters, as well as vehement critics who aver that in surrendering to the market and the law of value market socialism vitiates its socialist credentials. But the issues raised in the European context have specific contextual characteristics. European economies and social structures are what we term developed or advanced. While large disparities of wealth exist between social strata and social classes, there is an absence of the fundamental development problems and crushing poverty that are the all too familiar features of the world of Africa. It may be suggestive therefore to consider the application of market socialism within an African setting, acknowledging that there will be a shift of emphasis. While the concerns for social justice and equality that are central to the evaluation of market socialism in a European setting naturally remain relevant in the case of Africa, there is also the question of development itself. Can market socialism be considered as a prescription for the disease of underdevelopment that continues to undermine the economies, the politics and the very life of African societies? We will begin with a review of the history and nature of market socialism before returning to this central question. In general I subscribe to the view that we should avoid dealing with “Africa” in a general way, since it ignores the need to recognize country by country differences and specifics. However, on occasion, a broad brush is useful. I believe it has utility here in a comparison and contrast between European and African experiences of socialism.

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The Weight of Absence

Rick Turner and the End of the Durban Moment

Billy Keniston

, while retaining a commitment to both socialism and non-racialism. Within this climate, Rick Turner’s contribution was deeply significant, and had a profound impact on dozens of people’s lives. Nonetheless, at some point, the liberation struggle in South

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Book Reviews

On 20th Century Revolutionary Socialism, from Poland to Peru and beyond

Jean-Numa Ducange, Camila Vergara, Talat Ahmed, and Christian Høgsbjerg

title, the selection of texts could be questioned, but it allows this volume to be very consistent in itself by focusing on a key year in the history of European socialism and on one of its major figures. Active in Warsaw (then under Russian domination

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Andrew Gamble and Rajiv Prabhakar

Asset egalitarianism is a new agenda but an old idea. At its root is the notion that every citizen should be able to have an individual property stake, and it has recently been revived in Britain and in the U.S. in a number of proposals aimed at countering the huge and growing inequality in the distribution of assets. Such asset egalitarianism is fed from many streams; it has a long history in civic republican thought, beginning with Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, but has also featured in the distributist theories of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc; the guild socialism of G.D.H. Cole and the ethical socialism of R.H. Tawney; the market liberalism of the Ordo Liberals and some of the Austrian School, particularly F.A. Hayek; and more recently the market socialism of James Meade, A.B. Atkinson and Julian Le Grand, and the market egalitarianism of Michael Sherraden, Samuel Bowles, Herbert Gintis, Richard Freeman and Bruce Ackerman. There are also important links to the proponents of a citizens’ income as a different approach to the welfare state (White 2002) as well as to the ideas of stakeholding (Dowding et al. 2003).

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The contributions to this issue of Theoria both revisit some of the themes that have come to shape the journal as an editorial project and invitingly open up new areas of enquiry and debate. Thus the challenges posed by poverty on a global scale, the problems of inequality and distributive justice, the legacy of the failure of socialism in Eastern Europe and aspects of the ‘postmodern moment’ in late twentieth century thought are, once again, challengingly engaged with. At the same time new agendas for research and theoretical reflection are identified.

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The editors of Theoria feel especially privileged to present, as the opening contribution to this issue, a remarkable essay by the late great sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. Not long before his untimely death earlier this year, Bourdieu entrusted the journal with the publication of this reflection on, and spirited re-affirmation of, the role of the intellectual and the nature of intellectual engagement. This essay is especially resonant in that it speaks so eloquently to, and by implication endorses, the underlying nature and purpose of Theoria as an editorial project. Thus, as we mourn the passing of this remarkable scholar, we take pleasure in communicating through this essay the passion, compassion, wit and commitment – as well as the vast and singular erudition so lightly worn – that were the hallmarks of his large and impressive oeuvre. We have departed from Theoria’s convention in this instance, and have elected not to provide a preliminary sketch of Bourdieu’s argument. Instead, we invite readers to engage directly, without our intermediation, with his evocation of the “utopia of the collective intellectual”; it is to the realization of this “utopia” that we would like to believe this journal makes a modest contribution. We would thus like to believe Pierre Bourdieu would have taken pleasure in engaging, critically, with the contributions to this issue – contributions which provocatively address, among other things, the globally pressing issues of justice and democracy as well as the need to revisit the prospects of market socialism in the context of developing societies.

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Federica Stagni and Daryl Glaser

. Amongst those coming in for stick in this book are Keynesian economists, intellectuals who have advised state policymakers, and anyone who imagines that the state can be repurposed to serve a common good. For at least some contributors, socialism very much

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Decolonising Borders

Re-imagining Strangeness and Spaces

John Sodiq Sanni

commonality, which is lacking in post-colonial African societies. The proponents of African socialism sought to construct a new sense of unity, especially considering the division that Africa suffered under colonialism. A consideration of three rubrics of

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Ezekiel S. Mkhwanazi

defence of socialism is concerned. According to Nkrumah (ibid.: 39), the intellectuals in this category often join political opposition or become apolitical. The second category of intellectuals is those who advocate a mixed economy. They are deemed