The influence of Marxism in the disciplinary “idealist” origins of IR: a revisionist study through the prism of imperialism

Villanueva Lira, Jose Ricardo (2015) The influence of Marxism in the disciplinary “idealist” origins of IR: a revisionist study through the prism of imperialism. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information:


Marxism is largely absent from the historiography of the discipline of International Relations (IR). This is striking because the formative years of the discipline coincide with a vibrant period in Marxist political thought. This was, after all, the era of, among others, Lenin, Kautsky, Bukharin and Luxemburg. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate to what extent and in what ways Marxist writings and precepts informed the so-called idealist stage of the discipline. Building on the work of revisionist scholars, the thesis reconstructs the writings of five benchmark IR thinkers. The cases of John Hobson, Henry Brailsford, Leonard Woolf, Harold Laski and Norman Angell, are analysed in order to explore the influence that Marxism might have played in their thinking, and in the “idealist years” of the discipline more generally. The thesis demonstrates that although Marxist thought has been neglected by mainstream IR disciplinary historians, it played a significant role in the discipline’s early development. As such, this thesis both challenges the exclusion of Marxist thought from the mainstream disciplinary histories of IR and contributes to a deeper understanding of the role it played in early 20th century IR theory.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: International Relations, Disciplinary History, Marxism, Socialism, Imperialism, liberal idealism and internationalism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Supervisor's Name: O'Driscoll, Dr. Cian and Solomon, Dr. Ty
Date of Award: 30 October 2015
Embargo Date: 27 March 2023
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6909
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2015 16:18
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2020 10:46

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