Part or chapter of a book
European Socialists and the State: A Comparative and Transnational Approach
European Socialists and the State in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
1 - 26 p.
Many political observers in Western democratic countries equate socialism with statism. From the late 1970s onwards, numerous socialist elites and experts have helped to nurture this widespread belief. This chapter aims to dispel this reductive, indeed incorrect, account of the relationship between West European socialism and the idea, form, and use of the state. It challenges what remains a dominant interpretation of the left’s propensity for state intervention in political and journalistic debates. It promotes a comparative and transnational approach over the longue durée, which is likely to produce a better understanding of West European socialism. In so doing, it also casts an original light on the history of the contemporary state in Europe.