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date: 28 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The question of how intellectuals ought to relate to the ideological traditions of the political cultures of modern societies has been a recurrent theme of European social and political thought over the last two centuries. This chapter explores earlier traditions of European thinking, associated with the work of Karl Mannheim, Julien Benda, and Antonio Gramsci, which established the major lines of debate about the relationship of intellectuals to a sense of nationhood and the political traditions of the polities they inhabited. These ideas form the backdrop to the analysis of the drift towards post-national thinking among important groups of intellectual practitioners in the UK towards the end of the twentieth century. Cosmopolitan thinking, the article suggests, has tended to obscure the ideological character of the main lines of political thinking associated with globalization, and ensured that progressive intellectuals tended to abandon the ‘national-popular’ to their counterparts on the political right, with fateful consequences.

Keywords: intellectuals, ideology, nationhood, globalization, United Kingdom

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