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Looking for The Proletariat
Socialisme ou Barbarie and the Problem of Worker Writing
The first ever English-language history of the influential French revolutionary group Socialisme ou Barbarie.
This book, the first English-language history of the French revolutionary group Socialism ou Barbarie, focuses on the period of 1949 to 1957 when the influence of the group began to wane. Hastings-King explains why Socialisme ou Barbarie’s anti-Leninist position on organization led it to privilege first person narratives in order to understand worker experience and its revolutionary possibilities.

Looking for the Proletariat draws on these narratives—the only first-person accounts of the working-class experience in French industry during the 1950s—to explore the disintegration of collective investment in the Marxist Imaginary that unfolded at Renault’s Billancourt factory in the aftermath of the Hungarian Revolution.

Reviews
  • "Stephen Hastings-Kings is very precise and punctual in describing the life of the movement, through continuous references to their historical, social, and political context, and an efficient use of their written sources... This work is theoretically well supported by references to Marx and Marxism, and to pivotal authors in phenomenology, especially Husserl and Merleau-Ponty."
    —Giorgio Baruchello, Nordicum-Mediterraneum