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In this study, the author argues that while Marx and Marxism became the principal owners of socialism in the 19th and 20th century, it was not their invention. The socialist ideal was, he suggests, embedded in Western civilization and its progenic cultures long before the opening of the modern era - and socialist thought did not begin with or depend on the existence of capitalism. The book proposes that the cultural, economic and social circumstances which spawned socialism are so diverse that the notion of socialism is best understood as a genetic phenomenon of resistance and should be treated in terms of "socialisms" rather than an enduring singular world-view. Focusing on the impact of social conflicts and political competitions, the book interrogates the social, cultural, institutional and historical materials from which socialisms emerged. In doing so, it exposes the conceptual boundaries and restraints, and the definitive discursives structures, imposed on and by Engels and Marx in the process of giving a "destiny" to scientific socialism.
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