Understanding Labour’s ideological trajectory
in Interpreting the Labour Party

The Labour Party is habitually considered the most ideologically inclined of all British political parties, and ideological struggle has been endemic within the party since its foundation. At the risk of oversimplification, the approach adopted here classifies works according to the principal explanatory strategies they adopt. This chapter outlines five strategies, such as materialist; ideational; electoral; institutional; and synthetic strategies. Materialist, ideational and electoral explanatory strategies account for Labour's ideological trajectory in factors exogenous to the party. In the literature specifically devoted to Labour, electoral pressures are taken almost as given, albeit rarely understood, via the systematised approach of Downs A. and Przeworski A. For some, Labour's ideological movements are viewed almost wholly in terms of responses to electoral pressures. For Przeworski pursuing politics through parliamentary institutions necessitated that social democrats reconcile themselves to the absence of a proletarian numerical majority in each Western nation.

Interpreting the Labour Party

Approaches to Labour politics and history

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