© 2019

Social Democracy and the Crisis of Equality

Australian Social Democracy in a Changing World

  • Analyses how a social democratic party’s conception of equality has expanded to include multiple forms of inequality in addition to class

  • Discusses key challenges Western social democracy will face in the twenty-first century

  • Incorporates highly innovative approaches to the study of social democracy


About this book


This book analyses social democratic parties’ attempts to tackle inequality in increasingly challenging times. It provides a distinctive contribution to the literature on the so-called ‘crisis’ of social democracy by exploring the role of equality policy in this crisis. While the main focus is on analysing Australian Labor governments, examples are also given from a wide range of parties internationally.

The book traces how a traditional focus on class has expanded to include other forms of inequality, including issues of gender, race, ethnicity and sexuality and explores both the intersections and potential tensions that result. Meanwhile there are new challenges for equality policy arising from a changing geo-economics (the rise of Asia), the legacies of neoliberalism and the impact of technological disruption.


social democracy economic inequality gender equality class inequality racial inequality religious discrimination same-sex equality marriage equality technological disruption geo-politics geo-economics political parties democracy parliamentary systems politics of emotion Australian politics Australian Labor Party Labour

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics and International RelationsUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

About the authors

Carol Johnson is a Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Adelaide. Her main research interests are in Australian and comparative politics, the politics of gender and sexuality, the politics of emotion, and analyses of ideology and discourse. She also has a major interest in the domestic political implications of Australian (and Western) engagement with Asia. Her applied research focuses on how governments, particularly social democratic ones, manage social, economic, and technological change.  

Bibliographic information