From Social Democracy to Social Liberalism?.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
A0.08 (Oudemanhuispoort)
Jonas Hinnfors , Department of Po÷itical Science, University of Gothenburg
Yohann Aucante , CESPRA, EHESS
Yohann Aucante, Lecturer in social science, PhD, EHESS-CESPRA, 105 Bd Raspail, 75006 Paris/France

Jonas Hinnfors, Professor of Political Science, PhD, Dept of Poltical Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

From Social Democracy to Social Liberalism?

In this paper we investigate the validity of current theories dealing with party ideological change. We apply the theories to several cases of European social democracy. In the context of the financial and economic crisis of 2007-08, we look at a variety of internal as well as external shocks supposed to trigger ideological reassessement. However, we find surprising degrees of stability and conservatism. Because political ideologies are resilient and complex, we further explore historical instances of ideological shifts in order to grasp the contextual and structural processes that guide such evolutions. To do this, we discuss ways to disentangle ideological change from programmatic, discursive and policy change. We carry out a focused comparison of three European cases to show the limits of some of the theories in the field: The Swedish conversion to liberal reforms of the public sector and the welfare state; the transformation of old Labour into New Labour in Britain; and the more ambiguous and protracted ideological games in the French Socialist Party, which for a long time officially refused to be considered 'social democratic'. With this paper, we wish to contribute to the larger historical and conceptual debate about the nature, transformation and crisis of European social democracy.

  • CES_final_version_Malena2013.pdf (446.3 kB)