Class Structure and Social Democratic Party Strategy
Arguments that infer the inevitable decline of European socialist and social democratic parties from the changing class structures of advanced capitalist societies have two major flaws. Firstly, they do not adequately reconstruct the link between citizens' experiences in markets, work organizations and the sphere of social reproduction, on the one hand, and the formation of political consciousness, on the other. Secondly, such propositions do not model the strategic terrain of party competition and intra-party decision making on which socialist politicians devise voter appeals. This article will first present a sketch of an alternative theory of preference formation that does not rely on conventional class categories and then analyse party competition as faced by social democrats under advanced capitalism. It will then test ‘naïve’ and ‘sophisticated’ theories of class politics and account for their shortcomings in terms of the alternative theoretical framework. © 1993, Cambridge University Press. All rights reserved.
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