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How have social democratic parties changed over the last 25 years?

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  1. Introduction
  2. The main reason which explains the changes
  3. The decline of the German, English and French Social Democratic parties
    1. This 'democratisation' process
    2. Modification of the internal organisation
    3. The case of Germany
  4. Mitterrand's two terms and Marxism
  5. The German, English and French Social Democratic parties and liberalism
  6. The SPD, Labour and the PS's response by modernising the party
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

The changes of the last 30, and especially 25 years have produced an unexpected and important indentity crisis for all parties rooted in the tradition of Western European reformistsocialism. In fact, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the world experienced great changes such as new expectations from people, the entrance in the era of globalisation (globalisation was not a new concept at that time but it was at th at time that its effects began to be visible). Those changes forced the European Social Democratic parties to face an uncertain future and the retreat of social democracy and therefore to try to change in order not to disappear from the political scene. Without giving too many details now, it can just be said that Western European Social Democratic parties moved towards 'modernisation'. This process of 'modernisation' brought real changes as much in the parties'internal structure as in the parties'ideas, policies and creeds. The evolution of the German, English and French Social Democratic parties over the last 25 years illustrate the changes that occurred in the 1980s and the process of 'modernisation' undertaken by these parties.

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