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Title: Class conflict and the industrial relations crisis : compromise and corporatism in the policies of the British State
Author: Crouch, Colin
ISNI:       0000 0001 2442 0040
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1975
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The central purpose of the thesis is to interpret in the context of theories of class structure certain developments in the industrial relations policies of British governments between 1956 and 1971. Although British sociology has long been pre-occupied with class, and although the relevance of industrial relations to the historical development of class relations is generally recognised, it is only in very recent years that a few authors have attempted class analyses of recent policy changes. The present study is probably the first to attempt a detailed analysis of the policies in this context, though the period has been one of institutional innovation rivalling the immediate postwar years. In tackling this task the thesis brings together three usually separate literatures: that on class and stratification, that on industrial relations and that on political processes. The first two of these are dealt with at length, the last less so (and perhaps, on reflection, inadequately). Nearly all the themes discussed will be found elsewhere in the literature, but originality is claimed for (i) the particular combination of themes achieved, and the relations made between them and (ii) the detailed relation of these themes to the particular body of empirical material studied. For example, the central contention examined - that recent policy developments constitute the rise of the corporate state - has very recently found its way into general discussion, but the present thesis tries to define corporatism systematically, demonstrate its place within a theory of class relations, and assess precisely the corporatist content of policies. Methodologically the thesis is unadventurous and conventional and makes no use of sophisticated techniques. Further, the great bulk of empirical material studied consists of published documents. However, it is considered that it goes beyond many conventional treatments in the extent to which its analysis of empirical material relates closely to the theoretical framework which is established. Further, although the data used are not original in the sense of having never before been exposed to public gaze, their use is original in the sense that they are studied in terms and for purposes very different from those intended by their authors. In summary, the contributions claimed for the thesis are as follows: (1) starting from a Marxian/Weberian perspective it directs attention to a central aspect of class which has been neglected in sociology's pre-occupation with problems of the identification of and subjective attitudes of classes, viz the particular combination of economic, political and ideological constraints that provide the structure of different forme of class relations; (2) it relates issues of class to recent industrial relations strategies more systematically than is usually the case in recent debates; (3) in particular, it establishes the outlines of two contrasting strategies called the Compromise and corporatism; (4) it makes use of these and other concepts to provide a sociological analysis of incomes policies and industrial relations law reform measures; (5) in less precise detail, it provides an histoire raisonée of political developments in the period concerned, interpreting them in the terms established earlier; (6) it makes an empirical study of, and relates together, certain other themes of recent literature, such as managerialism, administrative rationality as ideology, the changing role of the state and the problems this creates for existing political, ideologies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Industrial relations ; Labor policy ; Great Britain