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37. Dipesh Chakrabarty  

Eva-Maria Nag

This chapter presents an overview of Dipesh Chakrabarty’s contribution to political thinking that is concerned with the human condition in the age of climate change. The chapter examines Chakrabarty’s argument that human-centred ways of thinking about the world and humanity are no longer appropriate. Moreover, Chakrabarty makes the case for bringing together natural and human history; for humans having become a geological force upon the planet; for capitalism having only a limited role in climate change; and for a new focus on planetary history, not merely human history. This chapter presents, Chakrabarty as a postcolonial historian and political thinker and then examines his conceptualization of the Anthropocene as a new historical and planetary era. This chapter further explores the complex connections between freedom, capitalism, and climate change. Chakrabarty insists the era of climate change needs new political perspectives beyond critiques of capitalism, colonialism, and globalization.

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13. Karl Marx  

Simon Choat

This chapter focuses on the works of Karl Marx from 1845 onwards, because it is in those works that the theories and concepts for which he is best known were developed. It begins by explaining Marx’s materialist conception of history, mainly through the manuscripts published posthumously as The German Ideology (originally co-authored 1845–1846 with Friedrich Engels) and the 1859 ‘Preface’. The chapter explores some of Marx’s main concepts, including mode of production, class struggle, and ideology. The chapter then turns to Marx’s critical analysis of the capitalist mode of production, especially as found in the Communist Manifesto (1848, with Engels) and Capital Volume One (1867). Finally, it examines Marx’s views on the state and contrasts them with those of his anarchist contemporaries. While acknowledging Marx’s weaknesses, especially with respect to the analysis of race and gender, the chapter defends his continuing relevance.

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Cover Political Ideologies

4. Socialism and communism  

John Gregson

This chapter examines the basic features of socialism and communism. Socialism is a complex ideology with numerous variants that are often strongly opposed to each other on one or more central questions or issues. Variants of socialism have converged with other classical ideologies (such as liberalism) in their beliefs and values, yet other variants have remained vehemently opposed to much within liberalism. The chapter first provides a brief historical background on socialism before discussing the key beliefs, values, and assumptions of socialism. In particular, it looks at socialism's critique of industrial capitalism and its vision of the good society, along with its its conception of human nature, community, and freedom. The chapter proceeds by considering some variants of socialism, especially communism and social democracy, as well as the overlap between socialism and other ideologies like liberalism. Finally, it assesses the historical, contemporary, and future impact of socialism.

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Cover Political Ideologies

8. Reviewing the ‘classical’ legacy  

Left–right politics in the age of ideology

Paul Wetherly

This chapter examines the legacy of the ‘classical’ ideologies in terms of their European origins, expansion, and dominance. Classical ideologies such as liberalism, conservatism, and socialism can be understood as contrasting responses to the intellectual, social, and economic transformations known as the Enlightenment and modernization, especially industrialization and the rise of capitalism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The chapter first considers the idea that liberalism constitutes a dominant ideology before discussing the relationship between ideological principles, party politics, and statecraft. It then analyses the relationship between the classical ideologies in terms of the Enlightenment and the left–right conception of ideological debate. It also introduces the notion of ‘new’ ideologies and the extent to which the dominance of the classical ideologies can be seen in the character of the political parties that have dominated Western democracies.