Economy and Society in Europe
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Economy and Society in Europe

A Relationship in Crisis

Edited by Luigi Burroni, Maarten Keune and Guglielmo Meardi

While an economy is always ‘embedded’ in society, the relationship between the two is undergoing profound changes in Europe, resulting in widespread instability which is emphasised by the current crisis. This book analyses these changes, and in particular pressures of intensifying international competition, globalization and financialization within Europe.
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Chapter 6: Industrial Relations after European State Traditions?

Guglielmo Meardi


1 Guglielmo Meardi INTRODUCTION This chapter reviews and assesses theoretical approaches to the role of state traditions in comparative European industrial relations, in the light of increased internationalisation and specifically Europeanisation of work since the 1990s. A first section will discuss the interaction between state and national research traditions in industrial relations, assessing Frege’s (2007) work. It will be argued that Frege’s account, by focusing on Germany–AngloAmerican contrast, like the Varieties of Capitalism approach (Hall and Soskice 2001), underestimates differences among continental European countries. In particular, while the role of the state and of politics is more visible across the whole of continental Europe compared with the US (although not necessarily more important), its functioning varies country by country. In particular, the relation between state and society is conceived differently depending on the constitutional origins of the state itself, as is especially clear in the contrast between France and Germany. The roles of agriculture and of Catholicism also explain important intraEuropean differences in the link between state and industrial relations, in particular through the legacy of anarchosyndicalism. The second section reviews different approaches to comparative industrial relations and focuses on Crouch’s approach developed in Industrial Relations and European State Traditions (1993) as that best-suited for the understanding of the state. This work has distinctive strengths. First, unlike primarily economic approaches (e.g. Clegg 1976; Kassalow 1969) or primarily political approaches (e.g. Lipset 1983), it manages to combine political and economic variables, especially through attention to those European institutions that are...

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