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The Making of British Socialism$
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Mark Bevir

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150833

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150833.001.0001

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Introduction: Socialism and History

Introduction: Socialism and History

(p.1) Chapter One Introduction: Socialism and History
The Making of British Socialism

Mark Bevir

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book traces ways in which people collectively made various socialist projects in a complex world of mass literacy and popular politics. It explores the traditions against the background of which people turned to socialism and the dilemmas that prompted them to do so. It asks how people crafted and conceived of the diverse socialisms to which they adhered. Throughout, it concentrates on the period from 1880 to 1900. The bulk of the book consists of three parts, each covering one of the main strands of British socialism recognized at that time, namely, Marxism, Fabianism, and ethical socialism. Each part contains four chapters dealing with the leading theorists and organizations of the relevant strand of British socialism. The aim is in part to narrate the rise of British socialism as a belief system that later gained some kind of expression in an organized party and a state formation. It also shows how the diversity of British socialism was poorly captured by that party and state formation.

Keywords:   British socialism, Marxism, Fabianism, ethical socialism, socialist projects, mass literacy, popular politics

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