Struggles with Marx. Politics and Theory in the new left-journals Das Argument and PROKLA (1959-1976)
Completed associated PhD project
How can we explain the attraction of certain political ideas for left-wing activists and intellectuals? Why does one particular theory tend to be ‘in fashion’ for a time rather than another? Which concrete historical circumstances can explain the theoretical orientation of left-wing protagonists over time?
Finding answers to these questions constitutes the essence of this PhD project. The subject of research are the influential journals PROKLA and Das Argument, in which many prominent left-wing thinkers – such as Wolfgang F. Haug, Günter Anders, Wolfgang Abendroth, Elmar Altvater, Oskar Negt and André Gorz – published. The discussions within academic Marxism, which embodied a significant part of the German New Left, is to be revealed via the journals, which appeared from 1959 (Argument) and 1971 (PROKLA), respectively. To this end, political debates and theoretical references will be traced over time. The journals provide in this way a red thread, which helps us to recognise which political ideas and theories were able to exert a particular appeal on political protagonists of the New Left.
These ideas and theories are to be penetrated by means of an exact analysis of the sociohistorical context, conditions and attraction of certain ideas and schools of theory – such as Marxism or post-structuralism. The analysis of shifts in theoretical perspectives and political ideas in the period following the New Left is designed, alongside the historical classification of left-wing political guiding principles, to make a contribution to understanding internal left-wing debates and learning processes, in order to stimulate current left-wing discourses and encounters and contribute to an internal left-wing accommodation.
David Bebnowski successfully completed his doctorate on August 24, 2020. Read more (text in german)
Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History
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Email: bebnowski [at] zzf-potsdam.de