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How Jeremy Corbyn brought labour back to the future: visions of the future and concrete utopia in labour’s 2017 electoral campaign

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Abstract

Since his election to British Labour’s leadership in 2015 Jeremy Corbyn has excelled in defying expectations. Labour’s unanticipated surge in the 2017 British election is a compelling example. This article argues that Labour’s success was the result of its construction of a vivid and compelling vision of a possible alternative future that could be realised by a Labour government. This was a far-reaching conceptualisation of a different type of society, invested with substantial emotional energy, presented as a realistic alternative to the status quo that could be built through practical and immediate political action. This article conceptualises this form of future imagining as the development of a ‘concrete utopia’ as famously theorised by Ernst Bloch. It demonstrates how this concept was embedded in Labour’s 2017 election campaign through consideration of its well-received party manifesto.

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Correspondence to Liam Byrne.

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Byrne, L. How Jeremy Corbyn brought labour back to the future: visions of the future and concrete utopia in labour’s 2017 electoral campaign. Br Polit 14, 250–268 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41293-019-00123-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41293-019-00123-6

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