New Left

Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

New Left

a loose grouping of intellectual movements in the UK and the US from the 1950s onwards, drawing on MARXISM, and concerned with promoting socialism. The New Left tended to be critical of the Soviet Union, and distanced itself from rigid forms of Marxist analysis. The Russian suppression of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 was an important watershed, in which many of those subsequently active in the New Left left the Communist Party. The translation and

greater availability of Marx's more ‘humanistic’works and also the Grundrisse was also significant. In the UK, many leading intellectuals have been associated with the movement, including the historians Edward THOMPSON and Perry ANDERSON, the cultural theorist Raymond Williams and the sociologist Stuart HALL. The movement's leading theoretical journal is the New Left Review.

In a wider sense, the New Left also embraces other radical social and political movements, including the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and the Feminist Movement. In the US, the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT and movements opposed to the Vietnam War can also be regarded as part of the New Left. Although links sometimes exist, the New Left is usually distinguished from Trotskyist or Maoist political organizations (more often seen as branches of the ‘old Left’) and from urban terrorist movements such as the Baader-Meinhof group or the Red Army Faction.

It is notable how over the years many of the initially radical ideas of the New Left, existing at first outside or only marginally within academia, have become incorporated as part of the broad academic mainstream of social science discourse (e.g. see CULTURAL STUDIES, HISTORY WORKSHOP JOURNAL). In the 1980s, in both the UK and the US, the New Left was counterbalanced by the appearance of a NEW RIGHT, finding expression in such research organizations as the Adam Smith Institute and the Centre for Policy Studies, and journals such as the Salisbury Review. However, the output of the New Right has yet to gain the kind of bridgehead in sociology gained by the New Left. see also RADICAL SOCIAL WORK.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
Examining specific films, collectives, and movements around the world, this study of New Left cinema explores political films of the 1960s and 1970s made by student leftists, labor movements, the anti-imperialist movement, the Black Power movement, and radical feminists.
Despite what appears to have been the failure of the New Left, Katsiaficas declares that its passionate challenge to the establishment left an amazing legacy of global progress and the advancement of values and ideals that can fire the imagination and nurture the dreams of a new generation of activists.
The first is that the explosion of defiant youthful anti-authoritarianism in the cultural arena, rebellious uprisings of young wildcat strikers in 1965-1966, the rise of New Left opposition and protest, and young radicals' support for a series of 1969-1972 strikes need all be understood as "aspects of a single youth phenomenon." This can be sustained up to a point, as long as culture trumps politics, and appearances take precedence over purposes.
Broadly speaking, the Old Left was a Marxist phenomenon, and the New Left was, at first, a largely anarchist one.
Contributions from Sean Mills, Bryan Palmer, Joan Sangster, Peter McInnis, Benjamin Isitt, two significant edited volumes, and several dissertations have begun to paint a much more nuanced--and interesting--picture of the "long 1960s." While recognizing the "newness" of the Canadian New Left, this new scholarship has highlighted both its global dimensions, as well as its links with a decidedly older Left, particularly that based in the labour movement.
(1) This wave of workplace rebellion quickly died out, and Milligan turns his focus to the campus-based New Left. This is a little bit frustrating, because we are left with the largely unanswered question of the impact of this new generation of workers on the internal life of individual unions.
of Strathclyde, Scotland) explores how key socialist intellectuals of the New Left in Britain have responded to issues of nationality and nationalism (particularly around the question of "the break-up of Britain") after 1956 and into the 1990s.
They formed part of an upsurge in New Left thinking and activity that spurred on the Labour Left in the 1970s and 1980s; and many New Left ideas on the economy ended up in Labour Party manifestos during this period.
There are superb sections here on how the "new" New Left (1967-74) differed from the "old" New Left (1956-); on why the New Left decayed, declined, and virtually disappeared in the 1980s; on the heritage--both good and bad--of the New Left; and, not least of all, on why academic standards at Sydney University--and, by implication, all universities--have waxed and waned since the late twentieth century.
In foregrounding the importance of Third World students, Slobodian calls attention to a neglected but crucial chapter of West Germany's New Left's evolution.
This seems to be the purpose of this book, which is composed of twenty-two essays by as many authors of the New Left. In Eric Foner's afterword, he declares his hope that the tome "succeeds in setting the record straight" (395).