Culture and Consensus in European Varieties of Capitalism: A by I. Bruff

By I. Bruff

Utilizing milestones within the Dutch and German political economies -- Wassenaar and Alliance for Jobs respectively -- this publication argues that Antonio Gramsci's 'common feel' presents us with the conceptual equipment worthy for analysing the indispensable position performed via tradition and consensus within the trajectories of nationwide capitalisms in Europe.

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Rather than looking at the ideas that motivate individual actors (or even collections of individual actors), Geertz’s followers examine public symbols and ritual experiences’. : 269–70). Therefore, while the political culture literature stresses the need to study, and aggregate, the subjective experiences of individuals in their particular society, the anthropological approach highlights the intersubjective. What Raymond Williams (1981) defined as an approach which posits the whole social order as constitutive of all other social activities within that society, this perspective on culture gives us potentially valuable theoretical tools.

This is so partly because of its intricate historical development, in several European languages, but mainly because it has now come to be used for several important concepts in several distinct intellectual disciplines and in several distinct and incompatible systems of thought. (Williams 1983: 87). As stated in the previous chapter, the route to an adequate conceptualization of the role of consensus in the trajectories of European varieties of capitalism is via an adequate conceptualization of the role of culture.

Visser and Hemerijck (1997) argue that while instructive, this approach to social learning was based on an analysis of the Thatcherite transformation of British economic policy: the state in many other political systems possesses more limited powers than in the singleparty, unitary, weakly constrained case found in Britain. Therefore, prior to third order change in the UK, policymaking tends to be a closed and exclusionary process. Policymaking in corporatist systems of inclusive negotiation, on the other hand, is from the start a more open process because of the stronger links with society (on account of the involvement of labour and employer representatives), making it possible for the existing institutional framework to incorporate new ideas and realize a third order shift to new policy paradigms without losing its overall salience.

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