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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Comparative Politics

Class Politics

The causes and consequences of national variation in class politics

This research explains why leaders pursue different strategies for the political mobilization of interests and what lasting consequences their choices produce, using the formation of class politics in all twenty industrializing countries of the late 19th century as an example. During this time period, workers made identical demands for economic improvement and political recognition in all industrializing countries. Yet national labor movements embraced staggeringly diverse strategies to mobilize workers and advance their demands into the political arena, including different types of social democratic parties, bolshevik insurrectionism, and moderate syndicalism. This research proposes that the emergence of different mobilization strategies, the success of constituency mobilization, and subsequent patterns of political development depend on the ability of leaders to devise a strategy that responds effectively to the challenges of national political environments. The research shows that the adoption of different strategies has not only contributed enormously to cross-national variation in mobilization success, but also the subsequent development of democracy, party systems, and welfare states.

Principal Investigator: Konstantin Vössing