Room 2.30A, Law & Politics Building
Time Slot: 
Monday 26th March 16:15 - 17:45
Panel Chair: 
  • Dr David Bates (Canterbury Christ Church University)
Panel Members: 
  • Dr Robin Jervis (University of Brighton)
  • Mr Kai-Li Cheng (University of Warwick)
  • Awaiting details of this person

The revolutionary road to socialism pioneered by the October Revolution of 1917 is now widely seen to have failed in the long term. Only Cuba and, possibly, North Korea, have retained the commitment to a fully planned economy. Other communist states, notably those of the USSR and Eastern Europe, have reverted to capitalism; and China and Vietnam have increasingly large and thriving capitalist sectors. The papers given in this panel analyse various issues to do with moving from a capitalist society to a socialist society.

Convenors: Mark Cowling (Teesside University, retired); Dr David Bates (Christchurch Canterbury University).

The papers given in this panel analyse various issues to do with moving from a capitalist society to a socialist society.

Ling Fei Xia, Institute of Marxist Philosophy and Chinese Modernization, Department of Philosophy and Research Center of Practical Philosophy, Sun Yat-sen University.

Two Paradigms of Studying Marx among Western Scholars:

Isaiah Berlin's Hedgehog Mode and David McLellan's Fox Mode

[Abstract] Next year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Marx. The proper way to commemorate him as a thinker is not only to study his ideas, but also to reflect on the research paradigms of him. Berlin divides thinkers into hedgehogs that advocate monism and foxes that advocate pluralism, and Marx is classified as a hedgehog. According to this division, the research paradigms can also be divided into hedgehog modes and fox modes, the former trying to highlight the specific nature of the object while the latter attempting as far as possible to show the various characteristics of the object. In the study of Marx by Western scholars, Berlin’s study is the representative of the hedgehog mode. He attributed Marx's thoughts to a monistic view of history. McLellan's study was the fox mode. He took into account almost all aspects of Marx's life and thoughts. Both Berlin and McLellan studied Marx because of Marx's hedgehog mode, but Berlin used the hedgehog mode while being against the hedgehog mode; yet McLellan displayed the fox mode while admiring the hedgehog mode. Taking their own theoretical positions or not, is the main reason why they use different modes to study Marx and even the history of thoughts. In fact, these two modes have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the purpose of reflection is to determine their respective scope of application, and to provide reference for the research on Marx for Chinese scholars.

[Keywords] Marx, Hedgehog Mode, Fox Mode, Isaiah Berlin, David McLellan

Kai-Li Cheng, University of Warwick: ‘Scientific and Utopian Socialism’.

(Abstract to follow).

Dr Paul Wetherly, Leeds Beckett University: “The British Road to Socialism Revisited”.


The British Road to Socialism Revisited, or Whatever happened to ‘Eurocommunism’? The British Communist Party (CPGB) issued the 5th version of its programme, The British Road to Socialism (BRS), in 1978. From just around this time the world has arguably been changed utterly by, inter alia,  globalisation, neoliberalisation, the roll back of the postwar consensus, the collapse of communism  and the crisis of the left. This paper critically reviews the BRS in terms of its understanding of socialist principles or values, analysis of contemporary capitalism, and conception of socialist strategy. What, if anything, remains relevant in the BRS and Eurocommunism 40 years on?