The democratic class struggle revisited: the welfare state, social cohesion and political conflict
2015 (English)In: Acta Sociologica, ISSN 0001-6993, E-ISSN 1502-3869, Vol. 58, no 4, 311-328 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This paper attempts to resolve disagreements concerning how class conflicts are manifested in contemporary welfare states. An analytical distinction is made between social (tensions/antagonism between classes) and political (class based differences in political preferences) manifestations of class conflict. Using ISSP data (1999/2009) from 20 countries, the results indicate that social conflict is more common in meagre welfare states where material inequality is relatively high compared to encompassing highly redistributive welfare states where levels of material inequality are relatively low. When it comes to distributive struggles in the political sphere – political conflict – the pattern is reversed. The results do not support arguments emphasizing that class as an analytical concept is irrelevant for understanding socio-political phenomena in modern industrial democracies. Instead, the results suggest that the character of class conflict varies across national socio-economic contexts in tandem with between-country variation in the institutional setup of the welfare state. The results support the theory outlined in The Democratic Class Struggle, which suggests that in modern welfare states, institutionalized political conflict tends to replace less institutionalized and unorganized social conflict. This is more the case in encompassing welfare states than in residual welfare states.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2015. Vol. 58, no 4, 311-328 p.
welfare state, class, conflict, social policy, redistribution, preferences
Research subject Sociology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-88491DOI: 10.1177/0001699315610176ISI: 000364166600002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-88491DiVA: diva2:715926