This open book carefully explores the relationship between social democracy and its working-class electorate in Western Europe. Relying on different indicators, it demonstrates an important transformation in the class basis of social democracy. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the working-class vote is strongly fragmented and social democratic parties face competition on multiple fronts for their core electorate - and not only from radical right parties. Starting from a reflection on 'working-class parties' and using a sophisticated class schema, the book paints a nuanced and diversified picture of the trajectory of social democracy that goes beyond a simple shift from working-class to middle-class parties. Following a detailed description, the book reviews possible explanations of workers' new voting patterns and emphasizes the crucial changes in parties' ideologies. It closes with a discussion on the role of the working class in social democracy's future electoral strategies.
Line Rennwald currently works on the ERC Advanced Grant "Unequal Democracies" at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She previously held post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Amsterdam, the University of Lausanne and the European University Institute.
This open book is licensed under a Creative Commons License (CC BY). You can download Social Democratic Parties and the Working Class ebook for free in PDF format (2.0 MB).