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Thomas Prosser

Chapter 8 assesses difference in substantive outcomes between countries; this is a potential ‘smoking gun’ in that it illustrates drivers and consequences of competition and/or cooperation. Consistent with literature on dualization (Emmenegger et al., 2012), it is contended that divisions among countries can be linked to the interests of workers in the core, even if the means by which divides have been instigated are indirect. Specifically, the advantage of core countries within the Eurozone benefits national workforces to the degree that strategies for European solidarity are weakly prioritized and consequently unsuccessful. It is suggested that such partitions evoke Marxist-Leninist theories of imperialism, though differences between contemporary and historical contexts are stressed.

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Thomas Prosser

Chapter 2 outlines scholarship concerning the reaction of labour movements to European integration. The chapter commences with an examination of historic attempts by labour to respond to integration. Though political economists writing after the Maastricht Treaty emphasized processes of competition (Rhodes, 1998; Scharpf, 1999; Streeck, 1996), scholars who underline actor agency have focused upon initiatives which aim at cooperation; this literature examines European social dialogue (Falkner, 1998), unilateral efforts by unions to cooperate on a European scale (Erne, 2008) and Europeanization of social-democratic parties (Ladrech, 2000).

Notwithstanding achievements of this scholarship, such work inadequately theorizes the manner in which labour competition and/or cooperation affect substantive conditions in labour markets. Research on dualization is therefore evaluated; this literature provides valuable insight into the relationship between labour behaviour and substantive change, though fails to conceptualize forces external to nation states (Emmenegger et al., 2012; Palier and Thelen, 2010). Controversies regarding labour movements and the broader trajectory of European integration are also introduced. The manner in which theories such as neofunctionalism and intergovernmentalism aid understandings of labour movements is appraised, before it is asserted that the reaction of labour to the crisis provides rich material for reconsideration of prevailing approaches.

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Thomas Prosser

Chapter 9 answers the research question. It is argued that, rather than being based on cooperation, the behaviour of labour tends to facilitate competition between national regimes. Owing to the nationally embedded nature of labour movements, which is itself in the interests of certain workers, bargaining processes tend to lead to an unplanned yet incremental drift towards zero-sum outcomes which benefit national workforces in stronger structural positions. Strategies which aim to correct discrepant outcomes, particularly necessary at times of crisis, are generally unsuccessful. Not only are attempts at European cooperation weakly prioritized by labour movements, which is related to the tendency for certain workers to benefit from the status quo, but difficulties associated with collective action mean they can be easily vetoed. This theory may be generalized to other settings, though the extent to which it is specific to contemporary Europe is emphasized. A series of further issues is raised by this argument, including implications for the Europeanization of social-democracy and the extent to which the actions of labour movements were generally representative of workers. The chapter concludes with an assessment of implications for related academic debates.

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Germany

Accidental neomercantilism, questionable Solidarity?

Thomas Prosser

Germany is the archetypal core Eurozone country and its labour movement is one which is well-organized and moderate. After the launch of the euro, the capacity of German unions to control wages via well-established sectoral bargaining institutions ensured that the country increasingly enjoyed competitive advantage within EMU (Hassel, 2014). The case of Germany consequently allows assessment of the extent to which unions may use sectoral bargaining to plan competitiveness. It is argued that constraints on the ability of unions to calculate precluded such strategies and that the superior competitiveness of Germany was the result of structural influences. Following the onset of crisis and the implementation of austerity in Southern Europe, German ascendancy within the Eurozone raised the question of the extent to which a core labour movement was likely to extend solidarity to benighted counterparts. Though SPD often denounced austerity, certain actions of the party could be perceived as supportive. The disagreement of German unions with austerity was more vocal, yet their commitment to concrete opposition was arguably lacklustre (Dribbusch, 2015). The chapter concludes that the lukewarm reaction of German labour was rooted in the dominant national position within EMU.

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France

Au milieu

Thomas Prosser

France occupies an intermediate position in the Eurozone and its labour movement is one which is fragmented and adversarial. Lack of corporatist tradition means unions in France have historically experienced difficulties responding to external shocks (Crouch, 1993); the French case therefore raises the question of how unions in weak structural positions can effectively react to Europeanization. Following the introduction of EMU, this was partly resolved by a state incomes policy which limited potential loss of competitiveness; the role of unions in this process was nonetheless minor. The Eurozone crisis raised a further question of the French labour movement; namely the extent to which a movement in an intermediate country was likely to extend solidarity to counterparts in the periphery. Though mobilizations in France were more impressive than in core countries, significant protests being organized in France at key points, this response had limits and was a secondary priority for unions. The disposition of Parti Socialiste (PS) was also lukewarm. This was particularly the case on the right of the party; after François Hollande became president in 2012, the line of the German Government was increasingly followed.

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Thomas Prosser

Chapter 1 introduces the book and outlines its main argument. Rather than cooperating with European counterparts so as to maximize joint outcomes, labour movements rely on national institutions; this instigates zero-sum forms of competition between regimes in different member states, albeit through largely unintentional means. Lack of solidarity during resulting crises reinforces effects of competition. The arguments of individual chapters are also set out.

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European labour movements in crisis

From indecision to indifference

Thomas Prosser

European labour movements in crisis contends that labour movements respond to European integration in a manner which instigates competition between national labour markets. This argument is based on analysis of four countries (Germany, Spain, France and Poland) and two processes: the collective bargaining practices of trade unions in the first decade of the Eurozone and the response of trade unions and social-democratic parties to austerity in Southern Europe. In the first process, although unions did not intentionally compete, there was a drift towards zero-sum outcomes which benefited national workforces in stronger structural positions. In the second process, during which a crisis resulting from the earlier actions of labour occurred, lack of solidarity reinforced effects of competition.

Such processes are indicative of relations between national labour movements which are rooted in competition, even if causal mechanisms are somewhat indirect. The book moreover engages with debates concerning the dualization of labour markets, arguing that substantive outcomes demonstrate the existence of a European insider–outsider division. Findings also confirm the salience of intergovernmentalist analyses of integration and point to a relationship between labour sectionalism and European disintegration.

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Thomas Prosser

Chapter 3 sets out a research design. It is contended that a framework rooted in the discipline of political economy is most appropriate, given that this tradition is particularly concerned with explaining long-term socio-economic outcomes and the related role of actors. Operationalization of the research question is then discussed. The two periods in which the actions of labour movements are evaluated are outlined; these span from the launch of the euro to the outbreak of the sovereign debt crisis (1999–2010) and from the onset of this crisis to its apparent conclusion (2010–15).

Countries selected for case study are presented. Four countries (Germany, Spain, France and Poland) which exhibit different values in terms of status within the Eurozone and form of labour movement are chosen, so that deductions about the importance of these variables are as broad as possible. Research methodology and methods are also set out, involving an approach to the explanation of change which is rooted in historical institutionalism and critical juncture theory, and a methodological stance which is based on the work of Blatter and Haverland (2012). Semi-structured interviews and analysis of relevant documentation are used as research methods.

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Silvio Berlusconi

A study in failure

James L. Newell

This book is about one of the most remarkable European politicians of recent decades, the four times Italian prime minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, and about his contribution to the dramatic changes that have overtaken Italian politics since the early 1990s. Since 2013 Berlusconi’s career seems to have entered a new and possibly final phase, in which he is occupied less frequently in setting the political agenda than in reacting to agendas set by others. Consequently, the time is now right to consider his legacy, and how and why he has changed, or failed to change, Italian politics in the period since his emergence. The basic question underlying the book is thus: from the vantage point of 2017, would Italian political history of the past twenty-five years look substantially different had Berlusconi not had the high-profile role in it that he did? Ultimately, we can never conclusively answer such a question; but asking it makes it possible to contribute to a broader debate in recent years concerning the significance of leaders in post-Cold War democratic politics. Having considered Berlusconi’s legacy in the areas of political culture, voting and party politics, public policy and the quality of Italian democracy, the book concludes by considering the international significance of the Berlusconi phenomenon in relation to the recent election of Donald Trump, with whom Berlusconi is often compared. The book will appeal to anyone with an interest in Berlusconi the man, in Italian politics or in the growing significance of populist leaders.

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The political materialities of borders

New theoretical directions

Series:

Demetriou Olga and Dimova Rozita

Materiality has long been tied to the political projects of nationalism and capitalism. But how are we to rethink borders in this context? Is the border the limit where the capitalist nation-state, contested and re-created at its centre, becomes fixed? Or is it something else? Is the border something, or does it instead do things? This volume brings questions of materiality to bear specifically on the study of borders. These questions address specifically the shift from ontology to process in thinking about borders. The political materialities of borders does not presume the material aspect of borders but rather explores the ways in which any such materiality comes into being. Through ethnographic and philosophical explorations of the ontology of borders and its limitations from the perspective of materiality, this volume seeks to throw light on the interaction between the materiality of state borders and the non-material aspects of state-making. This enables a new understanding of borders as productive of the politics of materiality, on which both the state project rests, including its multifarious forms in the post-nation-state era.