Book Forum: Leftism Reinvented by Stephanie Mudge


Yet even as the strength of the methodological approach lies in its ability to incorporate and transcend multiple modes of analysis, I suspect this move will refract (sorry) long-term scholarly debates into struggles over to what degree the refraction approach is explanatory versus descriptive. To her credit, Mudge brings in the concept of Polanyian moment and uses transnational processes to explain forces working on center-left parties across Western nation states. But political sociologists coming from traditions of historical institutionalism, Marxist theories of the state, world systems analysis, or postcolonial theories would make different moves to explain convergence and divergence between cases. Are rightward trajectories of reformist parties overdetermined within a capitalist nation state? Or, was social democrats’ foundational “stubborn faith in [technological] progress,” as Walter Benjamin put it, to blame? It will be up to the reader to decide for themselves if centering party experts and intraparty struggles adequately narrates the abandonment of Polanyi’s dream to end market society. Leaving only the battle of the double movement.