The third way: the British Labour Party and the German SPD

Meyer, Henning (2007) The third way: the British Labour Party and the German SPD. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

This thesis investigates the Third Way in the cases of the British Labour Party and the German SPD from a comparative perspective. Applying a new mix of analytical tools, the investigation of the Third Way impact on both parties is conducted at three different levels: in the setting of the respective party (Partisan Third Way), in the framework of both parties in government (Governmental Third Way) and on the level of the intellectual debate and progressive governance meetings (International Third Way). Such a structured approach is necessary as the term Third Way itself - a term that is often very unclearly defined - becomes clearer in the framework of the two cases studied.

This approach also allowed identifying important differences of the Third Way experience in both parties. The Labour Party was fundamentally transformed in opposition whereas the SPD was programmatically as well as structurally largely unreformed when Gerhard Schroder assumed office in 1998. Once in government however, a similar economic logic was observable in the application of new economic and social policies, although Labour's commitment to this economic logic went further than in the case of the SPD. In other policy areas such as foreign policy however, there were no Third Way communalities detectable.

The category of the International Third Way, which comprises the intellectual debate as well as the progressive governance network, was detached from any direct influence on either of the two other Third Way levels. It was a place for international networking that did however not bring about a substantial policy cross-fertilisation or convergence. The significant differences of the British and German Third Ways give evidence to the assumption that there was no clear-cut single Third Way that was revolutionising progressive politics.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Third Way; Labour Party (Great Britain); Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD); politics and government (United Kingdom); politics and government (Germany)
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 320 Political science
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2023 14:02
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2023 14:06


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