Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Social democracy in the age of austerity : the cases of the UK Labour Party and France's Parti Socialiste, 2010-17
Author: McDaniel, Sean
ISNI:       0000 0004 8498 0527
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis' core aim is to understand why the major social democratic parties in the UK and France - the Labour Party and the Parti Socialiste (PS), respectively - were unable and/or unwilling to articulate a social democratic economic alternative to austerity in the post-global financial crisis era. It engages with existing literatures that analytically prioritise either material economic (e.g. capital mobility) or institutional (e.g. European integration) constraints yet contends that these cannot sufficiently explain the absence of a social democratic alternative. Instead, this study advances a constructivist political economy perspective in order to develop a more dynamic conception of the relationship between interests, institutions and ideas. In doing so, it places crisis conceptualisations and the 'postcrisis politics of austerity' at the centre of its analysis. Utilising 'discursive institutionalism' (Schmidt 2002; 2008a) as a tool to study the ideational foundations of Labour and the PS's 'statecraft' (Bulpitt 1986), the research draws upon elite interviews and analysis of English and French language primary documentary material. I argue that we must view the failure of these parties to deliver a social democratic alternative, despite the fact that austerity was not a necessity post-crisis, as a consequence of their inability to challenge the dominant discourses concerning the crisis and 'economic credibility'. Whilst recognising key material and institutional constraints across the two case, the thesis highlights the significance of three key political and ideational factors: weak ideational supply, the continued dominance of a 'social liberal' intellectual framework and organisational divisions within the parties. The absence of an alternative to austerity has, I argue, created a 'crisis of social democratic party identity'. This, in turn, has significant implications for the wider 'crisis of democratic representation' in Europe (Mair 2006; 2009; 2013), which has enabled the rise of radical alternative parties and movements in recent years.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism ; JN Political institutions (Europe)