The Electoral Crisis of Social Democracy: Postindustrial Dilemmas or Neoliberal Contamination?

Faculty/Professorship: Public Policy  
Author(s): Bandau, Frank  
Publisher Information: Bamberg : Otto-Friedrich-Universität
Year of publication: 2022
Pages: 11
Source/Other editions: Political Studies Review, (2021), 11 S. - ISSN: 1478-9302
is version of: 10.1177/14789299211032461
Year of first publication: 2021
Language(s): English
Licence: Creative Commons - CC BY-NC - Attribution - NonCommercial 4.0 International 
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-irb-548018
The crisis of social democracy has been the subject of numerous articles and books from different fields such as party politics, political sociology, and political economy. This article contrasts two competing explanations prevalent in the related literature. According to the postindustrial dilemmas hypothesis, the crisis of social democracy is the inevitable result of the transition from industrial to postindustrial society and the electoral trade-offs social democrats are facing as a consequence. The neoliberal contamination hypothesis instead emphasizes social democracy’s neoliberal turn and the resulting loss of trust in social democracy, especially among working-class voters. It is argued that both hypotheses are not only based on diverging conceptions of partisan politics, pitting Downs against Gramsci, but also on different theories of capitalist development (modernization theory vs Polanyian “double movement”). As a result, each explanation captures important aspects of the current crisis of social democracy but also misses other aspects that are essential to fully understand this phenomenon.
GND Keywords: Sozialdemokratie; Krise
Keywords: social democracy, political parties, party competition, electoral behavior, neoliberalism
DDC Classification: 320 Political Science  
RVK Classification: MF 3340   
Type: Article
Release Date: 8. August 2022

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