Should the Western democracies, contrary to their prevailing self-image as "planned" and "managed," be seen as highly disorganized systems of social power and political authority? If so, what are the symptoms, consequences of, and possible remedies for these disorganizing tendencies?In these ten essays, Claus Offe seeks to answer such questions. Moving beyond the boundaries of both Marxism and established forms of political sociology, he focuses on the growth of serious divisions within the work force, the importance of the "informal" sector, (...) the severe difficulties faced by trade unions in coping with the present economic crisis, the vulnerability of neocorporatist mechanisms, and the failures of state policymaking based on either majority rule or bureaucratic administration.In examining these and other fundamental problems of advanced capitalist democracies, Offe also contests some widely held assumptions of contemporary social science. He calls into question the neutrality of liberal democratic mechanisms of participation and representation, the centrality of the category of work and the division between labor and capital, and the feasibility and desirability of full employment.Claus Offe is the author of numerous books and essays, including Contradictions of the Welfare State. He is currently Professor of Political Science and Sociology in the Faculty of Sociology, University of Bielefeld, West Germany. John Keane is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory and Sociology at the Polytechnic of Central London. Disorganized Capitalism is included in the series, Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy. (shrink)
The nine essays in this volume explore such topics as the characteristics and shortcomings of state socialist societies and of democratic capitalism, the role of ethnic politics in East European transitions, issues of retribution and ...
Together, the two volumes underscore the richness and variety of Habermas's project.Contributors: Karl-Otto Apel. Richard J. Bernstein. Peter Burger. Martin Jay. Thomas McCarthy. Herbert Schnadelbach. Charles Taylor. Michael Theunissen.
In West Germany, there is a good deal of disagreement among leading political groups, economic decision makers and scientific experts concerning both the future of the labor market and the role of labor in society. This disagreement bears on all of the three relevant points: the prognosis of the likely future development, the policy most suited to this development, and the criteria and objectives that determine whether, in fact, a development could be judged as positive or indeed desirable. In this (...) discussion, the first of these three points is the least controversial. Quite a number of contemporary publications in Germany feature the famous graph, developed in 1982 by the Federal Labor Agency's Institute for Labor Market and Vocational Research, which depicts labor market trends for the years 1965 to 2000. (shrink)
This article presents an overview of the institutional architecture and the organizing principles of the German welfare state, which is widely and rightly considered to be the model case of North West European Continental welfare states. The author's ambition is to be both systematic and historical in his presentation, emphasizing the process in which different layers of the historically evolved structure serve certain functions, such as poor relief, the protection of workers at work, the protection of workers outside of work, (...) the determination of wages, and the level of employment. In the second part of the essay, the question under discussion is of what happens to this structure under the impact of German unification, European integration, economic `globalization', and lasting labor market disequilibrium. The third and final part outlines a policy proposal that aims at the strengthening of social citizenship rights which replace the `worker' as the reference unit of social protection with the `citizen'. (shrink)
Modernity and the State, a dozen essays written over thelast decade, develops his earlier lines of interest and extends them to the new societies emergingin Central-Eastern Europe.Offe frames the essays by suggesting that the key question ...
Andrew Arato. Seyla Benhabib. Hauke Brunkhorst. Cornelius Castoriadis. Jean Cohen. Helmut Dubiel. Klaus Eder. Gunter Frankenberg. Hans-Georg Gadamer. Axel Honneth. Johann Baptist Metz. Gertrud Nunner-Winkler. Claus Offe.".
The paper starts by exploring the negative contingencies that are associated with the core institution of capitalist societies, the labour contract: unemployment, poverty, and denial of autonomy. It argues that these are the three conditions that basic income schemes can help prevent. Next, the three major normative arguments are discussed that are raised by opponents of basic income proposals: the idle should not be rewarded, the prosperous don’t need it, and there are so many things waiting to be done in (...) the world. After demonstrating that proponents of basic income stand in no way empty-handed when facing these objections, a third part considers basic income in functional terms: would its introduction help to resolve problems of social and economic order that are unlikely to be resolved in more conventional ways? (shrink)
A frayed theoretical discussion has been taking place in most Common Market countries since the mid-1970s, and it has been followed by large-scale empirical research. These studies demonstrate the unforeseen importance of socio-political formations which cannot be comprehended by frameworks based on constitutional law and its understanding of a sound political order. On the contrary, standard constitutional accounts often treat these formations as relics of pre-modern regimes. In fact, however, corporatist arrangements envision socio-political controls not anticipated by the constitutional state. (...) There is an unofficial interaction between associations and interest groups on the one hand, and the government and parties on the other. This has important ramifications for political theory and especially for the conceptualization of democracy. (shrink)
Jonge mensen afschermen door hun een ruime dosis ‘ klassieken’ toe te dienen is niet voldoende om ervoor te zorgen dat ze een zelfstandig, kritisch oordeelsvermogen opbouwen, of om ze weerbaar te maken tegen krachten die aan dat vermogen afbreuk kunnen doen. Wat zijn de meest veelbelovende educatieve praktijken om dit vermogen te steunen? Het is hoogst onwaarschijnlijk dat hiertoe ooit een bevredigende ‘canon’ voor kennis en kunde zal worden opgesteld. Maar universiteiten kunnen in hun dagelijkse praktijk het oordeelsvermogen wel (...) stimuleren met ‘eenvoudige’ ingrepen als het verhogen van de dichtheid van de verticale en de horizontale communicatie, en het verruimen van de tijd waarbinnen deze communicatie zich kan ontplooien. Daarmee wordt de essentie van goed onderwijs gediend: het opdoen van ervaring en methodische oefening in de praktijk van reflectie. Simpel gezegd: alleen iemand die een educatie heeft genoten kan trachten een relevant en samenhangend antwoord te formuleren op de vragen waarmee de werkelijkheid hem confronteert, al zal zo’n antwoord lang niet altijd alle twijfel wegnemen. (shrink)