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ESPS2106 - Reform or Revolution: European Social Democracy c1870-1930 (not running in 2013-2014)
Course value: 0.5 unit
Convenor: Dr Mary Hilson
Duration: One term (Term 2)
Teaching structure: One hour lecture (Weds12pm - 1pm) and one hour seminar (Fri 9am - 10am or 10am-11am)
Assessment: 1 unseen two-hour written exam (70%), 1 assessed essay of 2,500 words (30%)
Available to: Second Years, Final Years, and Affiliates
This course examines the emergence of political labour movements in different European countries in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and asks why these movements arose, at more or less the same time, across the continent.
It looks in particular at debates about social class as an influence on political action. What motivates working-class people to become politically active and seek to form political parties in order to influence how they are governed? Moreover, how can we explain the different forms which labour politics took in different European countries?
The events of 1917 in Russia sharpened a debate which had been developing since the 1890s: should socialists work within the existing capitalist system to try to secure reforms, or should they attempt to overthrow the entire system and construct a new one? How was this debate played out in different parts of Europe and how can we explain different levels of support for reformist and revolutionary politics?