Chapter

1951–1964

Jeremy Nuttall

in Psychological Socialism

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780719071645
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701539 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719071645.003.0003
1951–1964

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By the early 1950s, the Labour Party was low on intellectual fuel. Though mid-1950s' revisionism eased the immediate problem, it also had a fundamental, lasting aspect: already having addressed many of the most tangible inequalities, it became increasingly hard to construct a case for further radical change. In other words, socialists in the first half of the century had an easier intellectual case to make, to shift politics from the right, a minimalist state, to the mixed economy centre, than post-1950 socialists, who had to make the case for a further move leftwards. Hence, the particular need after 1950 for the application of creative and analytical intelligence to socialism, and the damaging consequences of the dearth of this. Empiricism dominated Labour thinking in the 1950s and 1960s, a shift symbolised by the fact that whereas in 1945 senior Labour thinkers held two of Britain's three major university chairs in political philosophy, thereafter economics, sociology, and social policy were in vogue amongst the party's intellectuals.

Keywords: Labour Party; revisionism; politics; socialism; empiricism; economics; sociology; social policy; intellectuals

Chapter.  15861 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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