Proceedings Journal Article — The Challenge of Globalisation for the Left: Marxism, Post-Colonialism or Republican Nationalism — by Uni Adiv


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The aim of this paper is to present a critical perspective of the leftist attitude to globalization. In respect of critical theory it is evident that, historically and conceptually, the leftist response to globalization moves between two extremes—the 19th century global economic orientationof Marxism on one hand, and the late-20th century pluralistic/hybrid tendency of post-colonialism on the other. My criticism is directed againstboth the Marxist tendency, or as Miliband put it, ‘one form or another of economic reductionism’, and the multi-culturalist attitude of the post-colonial school. In the light of some critical neo-Marxist explorations of nationalism and state, I suggest that republican nation-states and their interactions should be viewed as the main protagonists of the historical process. In the words of Poulantzas: “The only thing that really exists isa social whole at a given moment in its historical existence” (Poulantzas, 1987). Thus, it is mainly politics, rather than economics or culture, thatactually creates and conditions our historical existence and, subsequently, the collective mode of its resolution. Following Croce, I suggest that political activity is a synthesis of moral utilitarianism. This dialectical distinction is the essence of enlightenment, of which republican nationalism is almost certainly the most radical realization.

Recommended Citation

Adiv, Uni. 2005. “The Challenge of Globalisation for the Left: Marxism, Post-Colonialism or Republican Nationalism.” Pp. 61-74 in Theories and Praxes of Difference: Revisiting Edward Said in the Age of New Globalizations: Proceedings of the Second Annual Social Theory Forum, April 6-7, 2005 (Discourse of Sociological Practice, Vol. 7, Issues 1&2, Fall/Spring 2005). Double-Issue Guest Editor: Mohammad H. Tamdgidi. Sociology Department, UMass Boston.

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