Browse

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 4,155 items for :

Clear All
Author: Daniel Künzler

There is a growing literature on the legacy of colonial social policies in sub-Saharan Africa. In the UN subregion Middle Africa, the colonial period is marked by concession economies. However, the francophone and especially the iberophone countries of this region are largely ignored in the literature. A literature-based historical sociology approach is used to answer two research questions to address this gap: What were the driving forces of social policies in concession economies? And what is their post-colonial legacy? Case studies of the concession economies of Angola, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São Tomé e Príncipe have been made. They reveal three key drivers of social services and schemes in concession economies: the scarcity of labour, domestic pressure and international pressure. The social services and schemes provided varied. They were most extensive in company towns where at the end of the colonial period the social reproduction of the workforce was possible, less extensive in what could be termed company villages, smaller in the scattered plantations and forest camps, and too small to create a permanent workforce in one concession. However, in a context of population growth, labour was no longer scarce and lost its bargaining power. Governmental and especially international pressure supported the reversal of social services through privatisation and informalisation. The quality of these services and schemes generally declined after independence. Therefore, labour scarcity is a key condition for the provision of social services by concession companies.

Restricted access

The gender-blind ‘workless’ frame has been increasingly prominent in UK welfare discourse in recent decades and has played a significant role in the political justification of Universal Credit – a key plank of UK welfare reform since 2013. Meanwhile, Universal Credit has been highlighted as problematic for gender equality. This article seeks to ‘fill in the middle’ between the use of the ‘workless’ frame in recent welfare discourse, including at the agenda-setting stage of Universal Credit, and the gendered implications of Universal Credit. It does this by analysing how the frame functions in government evaluation frameworks and impact assessments (including equality impact assessments), and in the implementation of Universal Credit (drawing on secondary analysis of interviews with claimants and focus groups with welfare practitioners). The analysis suggests that the ‘workless’ frame is promoting gender rowback by de-gendering welfare, devaluing care – particularly that performed by lone parents – and undermining the sharing of care in couple households.

Restricted access

This chapter centres on the Labour Party’s 18 years in opposition between 1979 and 1997. It argues that the failure to achieve electoral success caused the party to rethink its approach and, as in previous periods of opposition, rethink its understandings of economic policy and socialism. It explores the tensions within the party, which first moved leftwards before embarking on a further period of revisionism. It concludes by looking at the ‘Third Way’ and the creation of ‘New Labour’. It explores how a need to demonstrate economic credibility and redefine traditional commitments was critical to this, and how understandings of socialism and equality were central to this process.

Restricted access

This final chapter returns to the four themes established in Chapter 1: tensions between pragmatic and ideological responses to events; Labour’s understanding of socialism; distinctions between revolutionary and parliamentary socialism; and the relationship between the party and the trade unions. It demonstrates how crises have shaped the party’s economic ideology and challenged contemporary understandings of socialism and the means of achieving it. It traces the different strands of Labour’s socialism and argues that the party’s commitment to socialism has drawn from an ethical rather than economic or Marxist lineage. It highlights some differences between the experiences of the party in government and opposition but rejects simple classifications of Old and New Labour, arguing that throughout its history Labour’s economic policy has been guided more by pragmatic concerns than ideology.

Restricted access

This chapter centres on Labour’s period of opposition from 2010. Unlike other chapters, it ends prior to the resolution of Labour’s electability crisis (defined here as Labour returning to government). It explores how the party assessed the New Labour project and interpreted its legacy following election defeats in 2010 and 2015. It explores how changing methods of electing Labour leaders tested the relationships between the party and its constituent elements. The tensions within the party were also highlighted during the Brexit referendum and negotiation period, which raised questions about the nature of parliamentary democracy. Labour had been a pro-EU party from the mid-1980s, but many Labour MPs now represented seats with a majority of Leave voters. Having lost economic credibility following the 2007/08 global financial crisis, Labour risked being presented as anti-democratic in the wake of the referendum and Brexit negotiations.

Restricted access

This chapter centres on the General Strike of 1926 and the Great Slump of 1931. This period covers Labour’s in the inter-war period. Although now the second-largest party within British politics, Labour had not yet developed a meaningful economic strategy. The General Strike demonstrated that the trade unions, although holding the potential to orchestrate revolutionary actions, lacked revolutionary goals. The Great Slump further demonstrated the difficulties in achieving socialist goals. Labour’s lack of economic understanding meant that when faced with a capitalist crisis, the party was unable to challenge economic orthodoxies and introduce socialist measures. The prospect of austerity measures generated a split within the party and a dramatic end to the second Labour government as key ministers left to form a national government with Conservative support. The split encouraged the party to think more holistically about its economic policy and develop plans surrounding nationalisation.

Restricted access

This chapter establishes an understanding of crises. It argues that crises are suboptimal events and warrant additional resources to alienate their effects. The notion of a ‘crisis’ increases the salience of such events and requires agents to respond accordingly. This chapter highlights that crises are subjective and contested entities – as well as leading to discussions surrounding how to overcome crises, they often provoke questions of blame. The chapter sets out the parameters for the remainder of the book, and introduces the crises to be explored.

Restricted access
Developed through Crises

This book traces the economic ideology of the UK Labour Party from its origins to the current day. Through its analysis, the book emphasises key crises, including the 1926 general strike, the 1931 Great Depression, the 1979 Winter of Discontent and the 2007 economic crisis.

In analysing this history, the ideology of the Labour Party is examined through four core themes:

  • the party’s definition of socialism;

  • the role of the state in economic decision making;

  • the party’s understanding of inequalities;

  • its relationship with external groups, such as the Fabian Society and the trade union movement.

The result is a systematic exploration of the drivers and key ideas behind the Labour Party’s economic ideology. In demonstrating how crises have affected the party’s economic policy, the book presents a historical analysis of the party’s evolution since its formation and offers insights into how future changes may occur.

Restricted access

This chapter centres on the global financial crisis of 2007/08. It explores how the crisis challenged the post-Thatcherite paradigm that New Labour had adopted. It explores how the party’s proximity to the existing economic model made it difficult for it to adopt a radically new approach. As in 1931, the party, when faced with a crisis of capitalism, opted to defend existing institutions rather than seek to establish a new economic orthodoxy. However, the chapter highlights how Labour’s response to the crisis, for example through bank bailouts and the nationalisation of Northern Rock, drew on Keynesian influences, although as the subsequent sale of that bank demonstrated it did not ultimately diminish Labour’s belief in the market.

Restricted access