1st Edition

The Death of Social Democracy Political Consequences in the 21st Century

By Ashley Lavelle Copyright 2008
    234 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Whereas many writers and scholars interested in the field of social democracy have focused on factors such as the role of economic globalization and electoral pressures, Ashley Lavelle explores the importance of the collapse of the post-war economic boom and lower growth rates since then. He examines how these pressures have led social democrats to embrace neo-liberal policies and become threatened by minor parties and independent politicians. Providing an original argument about the decline of social democracy, the author investigates how its decline has increased the popularity of minor parties and independents, along with the reasons for social democratic membership and electoral decline. This is an important book for scholars of social democracy and the broader themes of world politics, political parties, social movements and globalization.

    Contents: Preface; Introduction: the social democratic malaise. Part 1 The Death of Social Democracy and its Political Consequences: Social democracy and neo-liberalism; Explaining the death of social democracy; Political consequences of the death of social democracy. Part 2 The Death of Social Democracy in Australia: The 'light on the hill' extinguished; Political consequences: a green altenative to social democracy? Part 3 The Death of Social Democracy in Britain: New Labour, not Labour; Political consequences: a fragmenting base. Part 4 The Death of Social Democracy in Germany: Rescuing Standort Deutschland; Political consequences: the '1930s in slow motion'. Part 5 The Death of Social Democracy in Sweden: The decline of the Swedish model; Political consequences: the SAP loses its invincibility; Conclusions; Bibliography; Indexes.


    Dr Ashley Lavelle is a Lecturer in the Department of Politics and Public Policy at Griffith University, Australia.

    'Lavelle retraces the steps of social democracy’s embracing of neoliberalism and provides a detailed and passionate account of its transformation. The argument developed in this comparative study is straightforward, coherent, and empirically sound. It is also innovative and bound to cause controversy. This excellent book is one of the most remarkable recent studies on contemporary Social Democracy and a genuine contribution to the understanding of modern politics.' Gerassimos Moschonas, Panteion University of Athens, Greece, and Free University of Brussels, Belgium