Left in the Past: Radicalism and the Politics of Nostalgia

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Bloomsbury Academic, May 6, 2010 - Political Science - 194 pages
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"Alastair Bonnett persuades us that the left can come to terms with nostalgia, because nostalgia---if the left did but realize it---is both a fact and an underutilized quality of leftist thought, and to prove it, Left in the Past conspires an unexpected rendezvous between early socialism, post-colonialism, and situationism. The book's novel readings of renowned cultural theories on the one hand, and exposes of arcane psycogeography on the other, will intrigue scholars, activists and students alike in virtually any area of politics, the arts, the humanities and social sciences." Simon Sadler, Professor of Architectural and Urban History, University of California, Davis

In Left in the Past, Alastair Bonnett re-assesses the place of nostalgia within radical politics and, in doing so, provides a new introduction to the history and politics of the left.

Left in the Past argues that nostalgia has been an important, but repressed, aspect of the socialist imagination. The book begins by showing the centrality and repression of nostalgia in both 19th-century radicalism and anti-colonial radicalism. This is followed by an examination of the consequences of this inheritance amongst revolutionary intellectuals in the twentieth century. Bonnett shows that, today, in our "post-socialist era", the relationship between radicalism and a sense of loss, and the ambivalent position of socialism in and against modernity, can and must be re-examined.

Bonnett's unique approach to the left makes Left in the Past a provocative but necessary resource for anyone interested in the history and politics of the left and radicalism.

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About the author (2010)

Alastair Bonnett is Professor of Social Geography in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University, UK. His other books include, The Idea of the West: Culture, Politics and History, White Identities: International and Historical Perspectives, Anti-racism and Radicalism, Anti-racism and Representation.

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