Reinventing Social Democratic Development

Insights from Indian and Scandinavian Comparisons

Olle Törnquist and John Harriss with Neera Chandhoke and Fredrik Engelstad

400 pp., illustrated
NIAS Studies in Asian Topics # 58
Available from NIAS Press worldwide




Hardback - 2016, Available
ISBN 978-87-7694-198-7, £65.00
Paperback - 2016, Available
ISBN 978-87-7694-200-7, £19.99


  • The first book to consider whether social democracy can be reinvented in the age of uneven globalization, by combining experiences in the South and the North.

Uneven economic growth in the Global South, with mounting inequalities and the crisis of democratization, has generated new quests for social democracy – but are such efforts, these days, at all feasible? The point of departure in this book is that there are no easy solutions such as generalizing the Latin American Pink Tide or exporting the Nordic model.
     There are many unresolved problems with participatory approaches; and the current conditions in the Global South differ substantially from those that enabled social and political forces to fight for the combination of equity and growth during late industrialization in the North. Can social democratic development be reinvented? This is what we discuss in this book.
     There are numerous protests against the existing order and there are attempts at change. But history will not be repeated, and the effort must be made to move on by analyzing whether and how the troublesome new circumstances may not only block some of the old policies, but also pave the way for alternative dynamics that can foster a viable and democratic counter movement.
     A group of prominent and committed scholars on social democracy in the South, most of them from Scandinavia and from India, decided four years ago to discuss these issues in several joint workshops. In this book, the outcome of their deliberations, they focus on the core dimensions of social democratic development and then read the two most critical cases in the South and North against each other in historical perspective, those of India and Scandinavia.
     In order not to take ready-made Scandinavian solutions as points of departure, they start off from the challenges in India, only thereafter looking for useful Scandinavian and other experiences. They also consider whether and how Scandinavia is affected by uneven development in countries like India, thus casting fresh light on the current problems of social democracy in the North too.

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