Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisorChabal, Emile
dc.contributor.advisorMalinowski, Stephan
dc.contributor.authorItoiz Ciáurriz, Iker
dc.contributor.authorCiáurriz, Iker Itoiz
dc.date.accessioned2022-06-15T11:20:16Z
dc.date.available2022-06-15T11:20:16Z
dc.date.issued2022-06-15
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/1842/39110
dc.identifier.urihttp://dx.doi.org/10.7488/era/2361
dc.description.abstractThe 1970s were a decade of transition on the European Left, characterised by intellectual ferment and ideological diversity. For Western European communists specifically, the 1970s saw the emergence of Eurocommunism, a major attempt to advance the cause of socialism in advanced industrialised countries. This process ended abruptly in 1989-1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, which represented a major and, in many ways, terminal crisis for European communism. This thesis examines the transformation and decline of European communism from the perspective of intellectual engagement. It looks at the life and work of the historian Eric Hobsbawm in the period from 1978 – when he gave his controversial lecture entitled ‘The Forward March of Labour Halted?’ – to his death in 2012. It explores different political interventions and expressions of political commitment, not only in relation to Hobsbawm himself, but also in relation to other left-wing intellectuals. It uses a wide range of sources – including academic books, articles, journalistic articles and Hobsbawm’s private papers – and draws on scholarship on emotions, intellectual history, and comparative and biographical history. It begins by considering Hobsbawm’s political interventions on the British Left from 1978 through the 1980s. I argue that his calls for modernisation of the Labour Party were not as a precursor to New Labour, but rather a response to the political crisis of European communism in the 1970s. This was typified by a tension that had long been a feature of communist involvement in left-wing “popular fronts”, namely the necessity of stymieing the advance of the right while simultaneously promoting the cause of communism. Then, I discuss Hobsbawm’s experience of communism after the collapse of the Soviet Union. I argue that he suffered from ‘the melancholia of the October Revolution’, where he revalorised and idealised his communist experiences from the 1930s and 1940s. At the same time, I compare Hobsbawm’s Age of Extremes (published in 1994) with other similar works. This reveals different left-wing visions of the twentieth century and how these were shaped by distinct understandings and temporalities of their respective political projects. Subsequently, I look at the role of autobiography, with special reference to Hobsbawm’s memoir Interesting Times (2002). I explore the tensions faced by communists in the 1990s and early 2000s, who had to come to terms with the failure of the political project to which they belonged. In much of the commemorative literature about Hobsbawm, he has been mythologised as a unique historian, while his communist commitments have been either downplayed or sensationalised. I deconstruct this myth and show that he was no different from other communist intellectuals at the time, all of whom had to grapple with their lost faith. Finally, I look at the transformation of Hobsbawm’s public persona at the very end of his life when he took on the role of an “activist historian” who opposed US imperialism. In the process, Hobsbawm reframed his political identity as “post-communist” and adapted to the new geopolitical configurations of the 21st century. Taken together, these different perspectives on Hobsbawm’s later career illuminate the complex history of communism in Europe in the past half century. From Eurocommunism, though his interventions in British politics in the eighties, to the re-imagination of antifascism in the 1990s and early 2000s, his passion for communism and the cause it promised defined his commitment. For Hobsbawm, communism was a morally and ethically valid cause, regardless of the fate of the Soviet Union or the success of Communist parties in Europe and beyond.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.relation.hasversionItoiz Ciáurriz, Iker. ‘Looking for a Dream, Surviving a Time of Nightmares: Eric Hobsbawm, Marxism Today and the Resignification of Antifascism During Thatcher´s Time’ in Fascism. Vol. 9, nº1-2, 146-166en
dc.relation.hasversionItoiz Ciáurriz, Iker. ‘The Wheel that Never Ceases: Reinventions of the Spanish Second Republic for a New National Right (2004-2017)’ in Far-Right Revisionism and the End of History. Alt/histories edited by Louie Dean Valencia-García, 105-120. New York: Routledge, 2020en
dc.relation.hasversionItoiz Ciáurriz, Iker. ‘Hobsbawm on nationalism and revolution’ in Age of Revolution, 21- 09-2020, https://ageofrevolutions.com/2020/09/21/hobsbawm-on-nationalism-and-revolution/ visited 21-09-2020en
dc.relation.hasversionItoiz Ciáurriz, Iker. ‘Spain´s Indignados Movement: the first twenty-first century utopia’ in Brave New Europe, 15-05-2021 (https://braveneweurope.com/iker-itoiz-ciaurriz-spains-indignados-movement-the-first-twenty-first-century-utopia) visited 15-05-2021en
dc.subjectEuropean communist declineen
dc.subjectHobsbawm, Ericen
dc.subjectNew Labouren
dc.subjectSoviet Union collapseen
dc.subjectactivist historianen
dc.subjectEurocommunismen
dc.subjectantifascismen
dc.titlePolitical commitment of Eric Hobsbawm: the passion for communist politics in a transformed world (1978-2012)en
dc.title.alternativeThe political commitment of Eric Hobsbawm. The passion for communist politics in a transformed world (1978-2012)en
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen
dc.rights.embargodate2023-06-15en
dcterms.accessRightsRestricted Accessen


Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record