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New industrial workers of a globalizing Europe: Right-wing populism, working-class power and the legacy of state socialism in East Germany and Hungary

New industrial workers of a globalizing Europe: Right-wing populism, working-class power and the legacy of state socialism in East Germany and Hungary

Objective

The research seeks to interrogate the question as to what extent the newly formed, skilled industrial “elite” workforce mainly driven by global capital in East Germany and Hungary, is attracted by right-wing, populist ideologies and political forces, and what factors can be identified that account for the decreasing appeal of the “old left” in this stratum of the workers.
The German-Hungarian comparative project is expected to: (a) contribute to an emergent literature, which seeks to reorient research towards a global labour history (Linden 2008), namely new directions in political sociology, labor sociology, social anthropology and gender studies; (b) facilitate new strategies of labour revitalization, which are considered to be vital for a deeper understanding of the mobilizing power of right-wing populism. I contend that the transfer of the “best practices” of the German model of co-determination into semi-peripheral countries such as Hungary can be an important means in this process; (c) generate a wider social dialogue on labour and democracy, which is targeted primarily at a non-academic public.
There has been a widespread criticism of the lack of working-class agency as an analytical focus in recent literature. I use an agent-centred, working-class power (WCP) approach on the basis of Wright’s analysis (2000). Further, I contend that the specific Eastern European historical legacies should receive more emphasis in the research and that a complex, interdisciplinary study of these legacies transmitted through family histories and collective memory and the everyday life-history experience of work and work-based communities is needed to account for the increasing appeal of right-wing populism in postsocialist countries. East Germany is an exemplary case here because albeit with the unification it became part of a Western country, the state socialist past still distinguishes the region politically and economically from the former West Germany (Kopstein 2001).
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Coordinator

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAET DRESDEN

Address

Helmholtzstrasse 10
01069 Dresden

Germany

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 162 806,40

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 846179

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 October 2019

  • End date

    30 September 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 162 806,40

  • EU contribution

    € 162 806,40

Coordinated by:

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAET DRESDEN

Germany