Change in European Societies since the 1970s
Title: Change in European Societies since the 1970s
Author: CROUCH, Colin
Citation: West EuropeanPolitics, 2008, 31, 1/2, 14-39
ISSN: 0140-2382 (Print); 1743-9655 (Online)
Sociology lags considerably behind political science in its comparative research on European societies, but enough material now exists to enable us to talk broadly about the major changes that have taken place since the 1970s across western Europe, and also to some extent central and eastern Europe too. Attention is here concentrated on those social trends that seem particularly salient for the study of politics, with occupational structure as the starting point. Although this dominant theme of classical sociology has tended to be neglected by much recent research in favour of such areas as deviance, gender and the formation of identities, working life remains fundamental to social organisation and in particular to politics. In fact, the theme of gender is easily accessed through consideration of changes in occupations, and considerable attention will be devoted to it here. This leads in turn to consideration of the family, then on to other aspects of demography including immigration and cultural diversity. This relates clearly to the final theme that will be discussed: the state of religion in Europe. In the conclusions some of the political implications of these changes are brought together.
Type of Access: openAccess