“In his richly researched study of the political culture of the Second International before the First World War, Kevin Callahan reminds us that socialist internationalism rested on far more than the rhetoric of solidarity alone. From the rituals and symbolics of socialist spectacle to all aspects of the movement’s “demonstration culture,” the popular democracy of the socialist parties rested on the inventively organized occupying of public space. With admirable concreteness Callahan takes us inside the careful proceduralism of socialist activity, both country by country and in the International per se, while showing just how elaborately the public performance of socialist unity was achieved.” Geoff Eley, The History of the European Left, 1850-2000 (Oxford University Press, 2002) and Professor of History, University of Michigan


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Published: 03/11/2010
ISBN: 9781848763838
Format: Paperback


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Demonstration Culture
European Socialism and the Second International, 1889-1914
by Kevin J. Callahan

The movement of international socialism prior to World War I overcame internal disunity and external obstacles by developing a new style of political culture and communication centered on mass-based demonstration.

This culture consisted of a diverse repertoire of activities such as public display, political symbolism, the popular press, the issuance of manifestos, massive antiwar rallies, and the convening of impressive political spectacles. As the largest international movement of its era, international socialism articulated a powerful indictment against the European imperialist and militaristic order.

Claiming to represent all of humanity and to reconcile national and international identity, international socialism facilitated the expression of political dissent, the expansion of democratic citizenship and the spread of innovative techniques we now consider an essential part of modern political communication and culture.

This interdisciplinary book touches upon several fields of scholarship including European Socialism; political communication; social movement; peace studies and World War I

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