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27 Comp. Pol. Stud. 3 (1994-1995)

handle is hein.journals/compls27 and id is 1 raw text is: 





Socialists and social democrats have probably nowhere been better entrenched than in Austria
and Sweden. Yet in both countries, they have suffered electoral defeats in the 1980s and early
1990s, just as socialists in many other West European nations. Changes in class structure and
the economic climate during socialist government incumbency do not satisfactorily explain
socialist decline. Instead, this article focuses on the organizational structure of Austrian and
Swedish social democracy to explain the parties' strategic immobility when faced with the new
electoral challenges of free market liberalism and left-libertarian politics. Differences in the
parties' organizational structure help to account for the respective timing of electoral crisis and
the organizational reforms and new policy initiatives chosen in response to such crises.




                          AUSTRIAN AND SWEDISH

                 SOCIAL DEMOCRATS IN CRISIS

                        Party Strategy and Organization

                                      in  Corporatist Regimes



                                               HERBERT KITSCHELT
                                                        Duke  University



T     he Swedish  social democrats  (SAP) and the Austrian socialists (SPO)
      were the only Northwest European  moderate  left parties that managed
to remain above the 40%  support level in each national election of the 1980s
and also held on to or were able to reassert their control of government after
a brief interlude of nonsocialist rule. Yet the political dominance of these
parties has either been gradually undermined (Austria) or effectively termi-
nated as a consequence of the Swedish parliamentary elections of September
1991.  Although  the unique resources and policies of these socialist parties
were  able to delay the crisis that some social democrats experienced in such
other West European  countries as Germany or Britain, they have not managed
to escape from the problems that have plagued the conventional left since the
1970s.
   In the past two decades, all social democratic and socialist parties have
faced two new  challenges to a greater or lesser degree. On the one hand, the
COMPARATIVE  POLITICAL STUDIES, Vol. 27 No. 1, April 1994 3-39
D 1994 Sage Publications, Inc.
                                                                         3


from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.

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