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Exploring the cultural challenges to social democracy

Exploring the cultural challenges to social democracy

The Amsterdam Process

16 March 2011


Anti-migration populism, identity and community in an age of insecurity

This substantial new Amsterdam Process publication confronts the choices and dilemmas facing European social democratic parties as they respond to popular concerns about culture, migration and identity.


♦ Popular concerns over culture, migration and identity are of considerable importance to the future of European social democracy; their neglect marks a significant weakness and vulnerability.

♦ In losing sight of the need to provide people with a modern sense of belonging, community and collective mission, the centre-left is losing its guiding voice and with it the right to be heard by voters.

♦ The struggle to empathise with societal unease and respond to anti-immigrant, anti-elite and anti-Islamic populism is creating cleavages and fissures which cut through both the movement’s electoral constituencies and its parties’ political and policymaking fraternities.

Berlin Conference

The papers in this volume were presented at an international conference in Berlin on  20-21 January 2011. This Amsterdam Process conference, organised by Policy Network and the Wiardi Beckman Stichting in partnership with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Das Progressive Zentrum, brought together senior political leaders, experts and policymakers from across Europe to discuss the cultural challenges to social democracy. Keynote speakers included: Frank Walter Steinmeier, leader of the SPD parliamentary group in the German Bundestag; Job Cohen, Leader of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA); and Trevor Phillips, chair of the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission.


The right side of the argument? The centre-left’s response to migration and multiculturalism 
Tim Bale, University of Sussex

Liberals v communitarians: the left’s civil war 
David Goodhart, Prospect Magazine

The populist revolt against cosmopolitanism 
René Cuperus, Wiardi Beckman Stifting

Responding to populist value triangulation 
Laurent Bouvet, University of Nice

An electorate set free: culture, symbolism and social democracy 
Mark Elchardus, University of Brussels

Progressives should embrace diversity 
Philippe Legrain, author and commentator

The Three I’s: Immigration, Integration and Islam 
Trevor Phillips, UK Equality and Human Rights Commission

Progressive multiculturalism: a social democratic response to cultural diversity? 
Elena Jurado, Policy Network

Reputations matter: What is needed for a competent immigration policy and effective integration policy? 
Shamit Saggar, University of Sussex

The open society and its believers  
Paul Scheffer, University of Amsterdam

Social democracy and the fall-out from multicultural collectivisation 
Dilsa Demirbag Sten, Swedish author and journalist

How can social democrats cherish identity and community in a multi-ethnic, cosmopolitan era? 
Maurice Glasman, London Metropolitan University

Rethinking suburbia in an age of insecurity: hard times on the edge? 
Rupa Huq, Kingston University

Identity and politics in Europe, Flanders and Belgium 
Tinneke Beeckman, University of Brussels

Media contact

If you have any queries or comments about this publication please contact Michael McTernan on 0207 340 2215 or email mmcternan@policy-network.net.

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