30 September 2020

The SG Showcase is a series of interviews with the PSA's Specialist Groups, explaining what they do and why - and how you can get involved. In this edition, we hear from the Left Radicalism Group.

Meet the team!

Currently, the Left Radicalism (sg) is being led by Giorgos Charalambous from the University of Nicosia and Dan Keith from the University of York. In July 2020 our team has been joined by Petar Bankov from the University of Glasgow, who serves as our communications officer. All of us share an interest in researching the radical left and particularly, radical left political parties, but also movements and broader anti-capitalist mobilisations. Whereas Giorgos’ focus is primarily on South European politics and the impact of European integration on domestic politics and actors, Dan is specialised in Western Europe and the British isles. Petar’s focus is on the radical left in Central and Eastern Europe.


What are the aims of your Specialist Group?

Our group evolved in its aims. Originally, it emerged as Communism (sg), focused at historical enquiries of communism and communist movements, including the experiences of Stalinism in the USSR and internationally and global anti-communism. With time, however, these aims have developed, which required a name change to reflect them. Currently, the Left Radicalism (sg) focuses on the study of the radical left in an interdisciplinary fashion which ultimately unites inquiries into party politics, movements, unions as well as other collective forms of radical mobilisation and resistance, at the national, European and international level, in the historical past as well as in the contemporary period. This reflects the growing ideological and organisational diversity among the radical left across the world.


What activities do your undertake as a group?

Currently, we are organising an annual workshop on a particular topic. Beyond this we also try to organise at least one panel at the PSA General Conference each, often in cooperation with other specialist groups. We are keen on developing our activities and for that we introduced this month (September 2020) our regular newsflash to our members with the aim to keep our group active. Hopefully, we will be able to expand our membership and undertake new activities that would be of benefit for our members. For example, we are keen on organising a summer school for PhD students and early career researchers on the radical left.


How can new members get involved or find out more?

Our group has several channels for communication. First, it is our PSA website where any interested PSA members can join us. Second, we are in the process of refreshing our existing website (https://psacommunism.wordpress.com/), where we aim to publish some helpful resources for our members and more information about our events. Third, we also have a Facebook group, The Left Blog, where we are further encouraging dialogue between our members and other scholars, activists, and generally people interested in the radical left.


And finally…

In this year’s annual workshop we will discuss the radical left organisation, its contemporary challenges and opportunities. It will be held on 20 November and will be online, so anyone who wishes to join to observe if not present a paper can contact us. We are looking forward of receiving paper proposals by 10 October 2020 (a 200 word abstract). We aim to not just have a fruitful discussion on the topic, but also to make something out of it. Depending on the coherence of the papers, we will consider publishing a special issue at a high-quality journal.