Liberal and Marxist Social Movement Theories: A Structuralist and Critical Realist Approach

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Haworth, J. 2022. Liberal and Marxist Social Movement Theories: A Structuralist and Critical Realist Approach. Crossing Conceptual Boundaries. 12 (1), pp. 54-65. https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8v201
AuthorsHaworth, J.
Abstract

In this article, I respond to the work of Barker and of Nilsen and Cox in their edited volume Marxism and Social Movements on the differences between liberal and Marxist social movement theories and go on to distinguish between what I have called humanist and structuralist Marxist theories. On the differences between liberal and Marxist theories, and while largely agreeing with the authors, I seek to develop a more precise understanding of these differences as their different purposes in explaining and changing the world, by their different views of the roles of social movements under capitalism, by their emphases on ecological, economic and political levels of the social formation, and by their different historical perspectives. On humanist and structuralist Marxist theories, I specifically distance myself from Barker’s infamous statement that structuralist Marxism has “contributed nothing to Marxism as a theory of emancipation” and attempt to explain the contributions of Althusser and of structuralist Marxism to our understandings of the conditions under which people make history. I thus distinguish between humanist and structuralist Marxist theories by their different understandings of the complexities of social formations, by their different views of the importance of human agencies, by their different understandings of organic crises, by their different views of social stabilities and of the frequency of revolutions and by their different views of the roles of ideas and of social interactions in bringing about social transformations. I conclude by explaining the consequences of these differences for debates and for deliberative democracies in social movements.

JournalCrossing Conceptual Boundaries
Journal citation12 (1), pp. 54-65
ISSN2041-9090
Year2022
PublisherSchool of Education & Communities, University of East London
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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8v201
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Online2022
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Deposited03 Oct 2022
Copyright holder© 2022 University of East London
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Crossing Conceptual Boundaries XII, 2022
Adams, J., Apwonyokwe, M., Fakhry, Y., Haworth, J., Jones, R., Overill, R., Tsagas, M. and Watkins, D. 2022. Crossing Conceptual Boundaries XII, 2022. School of Education & Communities, University of East London. https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8v1zw