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EUROPEAN-SOCIAL-POLICY  November 2018

EUROPEAN-SOCIAL-POLICY November 2018

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Subject:

CFP - The "third ways" in politics: actors, ideas, repertoires - Bordeaux, 2019

From:

Hugo Canihac <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Hugo Canihac <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 26 Nov 2018 17:41:28 +0000

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CFP - 15th Congress, Association Française de Science Politique, Bordeaux, 2-4 July 2019

ST13: The "third ways" in politics: actors, ideas, repertoires


Paper proposals must be sent by e-mail to each of the panel’s conveners before December 12th, 2018.


Cyril Benoît (Centre d’études européennes, Sciences Po): [log in to unmask]
Hugo Canihac (Université Saint-Louis, Bruxelles): [log in to unmask]

Political scientists have amply documented the traditional divide opposing the “left” to the “right”,
which is said to structure most polities since the 19th century – especially when it comes to setting
the respective roles of the state and the market (Lipset and Rokkan 1967). Yet, this canonical
opposition often leads to marginalizing the political proposals coming from a wide set of actors,
scholars or social movements aiming at, precisely, overcoming this divide. They have, to this end,
often claimed for a “third way” constituting in practice a synthesis between worker and bourgeois
parties, liberal and conservative ideas, state and market. Usually associated with Post-War Social
Democrats, these movements are actually far more diverse. Historically, one can thus note many
political groups identifying themselves as a “third way” operating beyond traditional political divides
– from liberal socialism at the end of the 19th century to inter-war Corporatists turned into European
Union activists after the Second World War; from French “solidarisme” to German social neoliberalism, amongst many other examples. More recently, the emergence of the “New” Labour
championed by Tony Blair and conceptualized by Anthony Giddens renewed scholarly interest for
the study of these synthesis efforts which, as shown by Emmanuel Macron’s recent political
campaign, are continuing ones. However, most academic studies on these movements tend to
focus on a single case and/or historical sequence. As a result of such fragmentation, what unifies –
or separates – “third ways” experiences elaborated at different points in time or spaces remains
largely unknown. Thus, these initiatives continue to be seen as deviant or (paradoxically) extreme
cases, in relation to the great divide, one that should oppose two political blocs clearly identifiable.
On the basis of this diagnosis, this thematic panel would like to shed light on movements, actors and
ideas claiming for a “third way”. More precisely, our goal is to gather contributions seeking to study
them as distinct objects, alongside the multiple work on the “right-wing” and “left-wing” responses to
the alternative between the state and the market. In that respect, this thematic panel would like to
offer a space for dialogue to theoretical and (preferably) empirical papers on a variety of spaces and
historical periods, coming from different analytical perspectives (history, historical sociology, political
economy, political science and political theory...). Generally speaking, this thematic panel intends to
engage in a collective discussion on how to grasp and conceptualize the political forces – ranging
from scholarly discourses to social movements – trying to overcome or to problematize the
opposition between the state and the market; part of these exchanges will also encompass the
theoretical relevance of the notion of “third way” itself, and its capacity to cover these different
situations.
The thematic panel will be organized around two main axes. We will welcome contributions on
either or both of these divisions. On one hand, special attention will be given to contributions
examining the conditions for the emergence of a “third way” in (a) given political context(s). In which
social or political configurations develop efforts to overcome oppositions between the state and the
market? Is it possible to find common starting points or conditions to explain the success – or the
failure – of these attempts? What are the different political uses and functions of these “third ways”?
Who are their main actors? More dedicated to the study of the ideological content of these
initiatives per se, another axis of this thematic panel will welcome contributions on the political
theories, ideas or intellectual controversies on these issues. Can we establish common intellectual or
ideological features between different “third ways” experiences? If so, are their political goals similar,
and to what extent? On the contrary, should we conclude, on the basis of their diversity, that “third
way” is not a heuristic notion to capture these political initiatives? By aggregating these questioning,
the overall objective of this thematic panel is to develop a reflection on how various political actors
and forces have struggled to overcome a divide between state and market rarely questioned in
contemporary political discourses.

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