Transforming European Employment Policy

Transforming European Employment Policy

Labour Market Transitions and the Promotion of Capability

Edited by Ralf Rogowski, Robert Salais and Noel Whiteside

Since the mid 1990s, the focus of European employment and social policy has shifted from protection to promotion. This book provides a timely analysis of this new form of governance, and the new forms of policy delivery and audit which accompany it.

Chapter 9: Occupational Structures and Social Models in European Societies

Colin Crouch

Subjects: law - academic, european law, law and society, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, labour policy


1 Colin Crouch Occupational structure has always been a major constituent of the wider social structure, differences and changes in it being linked to other, wider social differences and changes. During the early 1970s Daniel Bell (1973) drew attention to the changes in occupations attendant on the transition that he observed from industrial to post-industrial society. Throughout Europe it may now be said that we are living in post-industrial societies, in the specific sense that the proportions of the workforce engaged in the production of material goods is declining. Even countries which continue to maintain large populations working in the primary sector (agriculture and extractive activities) experience shifts towards services rather than manufacturing and related employment as their primary-sector workforces decline. What, then, are emerging as the main shapes of occupational structures in post-industrial societies? And are they all the same, or do they exhibit major differences? What patterns are emerging among European societies? To seek differences among societies leads very rapidly to a search for different ‘types’, into which individual nation states (for we continue to regard nation states as constituting societies) can be placed. This will not be my approach here, unless the evidence leads us to identify types. I am seeking variables that might be more or less present in different countries, and this will certainly enable us to talk about differences. But when various items of a cluster of variables come together in different patterns across different societies, we do not necessarily have differences of types....

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