Interpretations of Labour

CFP: PSA Labour Movements Specialist Group

UK Political Studies Association Labour Movements Specialist Group Conference
Advance notice and call for papers

Interpretations of Labour

Mechanics Institute, Manchester
Friday, 6 July 2001

Students of Labour in Britain are confronted by a variety of interpretative approaches offered by both political and historical analysts. For 40 years the critique associated with Ralph Miliband's work has influenced perceptions of Labour. This approach has in turn been subject to criticism by revisionist investigations, mostly by historians, of the general arguments of the Miliband school. At the same time pluralist criticisms of the labour movement's limitations, and institutional analyses of Labour and the labour alliance, have contributed alternative interpretations of Labour. More recently, comparativist and rational choice approaches have sought to bring other political science methods to bear on the study of Labour. Given the alternative and often conflicting perceptions offered by such schools, this seems an appropriate moment to revisit and re-evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of key interpretative approaches.

Papers are therefore invited that evaluate the relative contributions made to the study of Labour in Britain of one or more of the following principal approaches: Milibandist/marxist, revisionist, pluralist, institutional, rational choice, comparative. Papers should address one or more of the following themes: the concept of labourism, the movement's historical progress (including record in office), internal power structures; or they should contribute to an overall of assessment of the school of thought concerned.

The object of the conference is thus to gather empirically grounded and theoretically informed papers to further debate on and clarify interpretation of Labour in Britain. It is intended to produce an edited collection that will help students better understand the principal interpretations of Labour, and better understand Labour's past, present, and possible future.

Offers of papers should be sent by October 28th 2000 to

or to

Steve Fielding
School of English, Sociology, Politics and Contemporary History
Salford University
The Crescent
Salford, M5 4WT.

Posted: 28 July 2000