The Challenges of the New Social Democracy

Social Capital and Civic Association or Class Struggle?


Raju J Das, Jamie Gough and Aram Eisenschitz provide a Marxist critique of new social democracy as the dominant contemporary strategy for local economic and social development. In both the global North and South, new social democracy seeks to develop social capital, strengthen civil society, build not-for-pro¬fit enterprises, encourage self-help, and foster community ties. It seeks participatory forms of local politics to achieve a local class consensus. It promises to improve people's economic and social conditions in the face of neoliberal capitalism, and to empower them. The authors argue that this strategy is severely limited by, and internalises, its capitalist environment. They show that social enterprise can be developed in socialist ways, and contribute to a local politics based in class struggle. But social capital cannot replace the struggle of the exploited and oppressed against capitalism and for a socialist society, a strategy which the authors outline for the local scale.

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Raju J. Das, Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, is Professor at York University, Toronto. His research interests include Marxist political economy. His recent books include Marxist Class Theory for a Skeptical World, Marx’s Capital, Capitalism and Limits to the State.

Aram Eisenschitz teaches at the Business School, Middlesex University, UK. His research interests include spatial political economy, urban planning and tourism. He and Jamie Gough are the authors of The Politics of Local Economic Policy and Spaces of Social Exclusion.

Jamie Gough, Ph.D., taught at Sheffield University. His research interests include spatial political economy, local and national societies, theories of economic crisis, dynamics of the labour process, social reproduction, and poverty. He is author of Work, Locality and the Rhythms of Capital.
Series Editor
David Fasenfest, York University, Canada

Editorial Board
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Duke University
Chris Chase-Dunn, University of California-Riverside
William Carroll, University of Victoria
Raewyn Connell, University of Sydney
Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, University of California, Los Angeles/Columbia University
Raju Das, York University, Canada
Heidi Gottfried, Wayne State University
Karin Gottschall, University of Bremen
Alfredo Saad-Filho, King's College London
Chizuko Ueno, University of Tokyo
Sylvia Walby, Royal Holloway, University of London

List of Figures and Tables

1 Introduction
  Raju J. Das, Jamie Gough and Aram Eisenschitz

2 Associationism: the New Social Democracy from Below
  Jamie Gough

3 Social Capital and Class: a Critical Theoretical Examination
  Raju J. Das

4 Social Capital in the Spaces of Civil Society
  Raju J. Das

5 Social Capital at the Zone of Interaction between the State and Civil Society
  Raju J. Das

6 The Social Economy and Socialist Strategy
  Aram Eisenschitz and Jamie Gough

7 Rooting Working Class Struggle in Locality, and Taking It beyond
  Jamie Gough and Aram Eisenschitz


Third Year undergarduate students, post-graduate students and academics with an interest in forms of economic organisation, economic policy, local economies and social life and policies towards them, community studies, local politics, poverty, and scales of society. Political activist intellectuals, particularly those in trade unions, community development, ecological movements, and left political groups.
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