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Social democracy in the 21st century: still a class act? The place of class in Jospinism and Blairism

By Ben Clift

Abstract

This article explores the enduring relevance (or otherwise) of class to social democracy through comparative analysis of the British Labour Party and the French Socialist Party (PS - Parti Socialiste ) at the beginning of the 21st century. It first considers the elite-level conception of class, and perceptions of its place within each party's identity and political economy. The second section explores the importance of class to electoral strategy. Significant differences emerge in the importance attached to class by each party. New Labour has expunged class from its analysis of the economy and the electorate, but paradoxically owes its success to a cross-class electoral alliance. Conversely, the PS now seems firmly camped on social democratic territory it until recently shunned, retaining an emphasis on class, yet its cross-class electoral alliance appears more fragile, given the context of party competition in France. Both parties, however, illustrate the increasingly uncertain relationship between class and post-golden age social democracy

Topics: DC, DA
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2001
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:1070

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