Social Democrats Today: Tribe, Extended Family, or Club?

  • George Ross


Social democracy has promoted humanizing reform for roughly 150 years. It is Europe’s most successful modern political family, surviving adversity and crises with a stock in political trade of changing capitalism from class-ridden harshness towards something more equal and democratic. Capitalism has also survived, but in greatly changed form in part because of social democracy. But behind this big story, struggles between capitalist markets and democracy have been constant, as their shapes have shifted, and they show few signs of abating today (Streeck, 2011). What social democrats can ask for and win has repeatedly changed, therefore, and they have constantly had to reconsider their strategies, organizations, and outlooks. The Handbook of Social Democracy provides a vast fund of information and makes clear that there is no single social democratic object, but rather different units of a complex extended family with different strategies. This chapter reviews these different strategies, first over time, and then, especially, in the recent period.


European Union European Monetary Union European Union Member State Social Democracy Lisbon Strategy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© George Ross 2013

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  • George Ross

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