From ‘The End of Ideology’ to ‘The End of History’: The Strange Revival of a Discredited Idea


Francis Fukuyama's famous article ‘The End of History’ turns 30 this year, and continues to fuel debates
over the post-Cold War world. Much of Fukuyama's energies over the years have been spent resisting
misinterpretations of his claim that the end of the Cold War marked the end of mankind's ideological
evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.
And yet even with all of the qualifications to this argument, Fukuyama's latest book, Identity, concedes
that so-called ‘identity politics’ and the turn to global ‘tribalisms’ now threatens to undermine his
prophecy from 1989. This talk argues that Fukuyama's argument has run up against the same challenges
his forebears - Edward Shils, Seymour Martin Lipset, Daniel Bell and others - encountered when they
boldly proclaimed the ‘end of ideology’ in the West thirty years earlier. The talk explores the parallels
and differences between the two arguments, the context of their emergence, and their proponents’
relationship with the American ‘neoconservative’ movement.


All are welcome

This talk is part of: Rethinking the Contemporary: The World since the Cold War, TORCH


Convenors: Prof Faisal Devji and Prof David Priestland,