'From the Margins to the Mainstream': A Study of the Transformation of Marxism Today

Pimlott, Herbert Frederick. 2000. 'From the Margins to the Mainstream': A Study of the Transformation of Marxism Today. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis examines the relationship between the alternative media and the public sphere by studying Marxism Today, which despite being published by a marginal political organisation, the Communist Party of Great Britain, confounded expectations and rose from obscurity to national prominence as the leading magazine of the Left during Thatcherism's heyday in the 1980s.

As a rare example of a successful left periodical, Marxism Today provides a unique opportunity to understand how and why marginal publications may overcome the many financial, production and distribution obstacles and gain access to the mainstream. This thesis outlines the major social, political and cultural influences and practices which helped to shape MT's political and journalistic projects and five of its key ideas and
themes. Its struggle for autonomy from the CP and its production history, the subjects of two individual chapters, illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of the dominant models for left periodicals.

These changes in autonomy and production were also important to MT's ability to compete in the marketplace and its success in gaining nationwide distribution and press coverage. Marxism Today's access to the 'mainstream', national public sphere was also
dependent upon its textual transformation from a 'journal' into a 'magazine' (eg design, format, writing style). All of these changes together helped MT succeed where most left and alternative periodicals fail transformation from a 'journal' into a 'magazine', wherein the underwent changes which, not only enabled MT to reach readers outside the CP and organised Left and gain access to the national public sphere, but also intervene in debates
within the Left's (counter) public sphere.

Finally, in assessing MT's lessons for the debates over left press models and Jürgen Habermas's public sphere theory, the conclusion also provides a summary of its influence upon the Labour and Communist parties.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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alternative media, public sphere, Communist Party of Great Britain, Marxism Today, Thatcherism, Habermas



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Date Deposited:

10 Jun 2020 15:41

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 14:28



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