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Democracy and the State in the New Southern Europe (Oxford by Richard Gunther, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, Dimitri A.

By Richard Gunther, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos

This quantity analyzes the evolution of chosen public guidelines and the altering roles and constitution of the country in Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain because the Nineteen Sixties. It makes a massive contribution to paintings on contemporary democratic regime transition in southern Europe, demonstrating how the nation has spoke back and tailored to the demanding situations and pressures linked to the overarching strategies of democratization, socio-economic improvement, and Europeanization.

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The slow and faulty growth of public educational systems is another example of the weakness of the traditional state in Southern Europe. In the three Latin nations, illiteracy rates prior to the 1960s remained considerably higher than they should have been, given their relative levels of urbanization and economic development, as well as their much longer histories as independent nations, when compared to Eastern Europe. Jurisdictional conflict with the Catholic Church contributed to the paralysis, as endless struggles occurred over the degree to which education should meet religious rather than secular needs, and how much the church should contribute to the costs of the enterprise.

In addition to the repression of political organization and expressions of dissent, these regimes vigorously suppressed trade unions and coerced workers into corporatist, vertical ‘syndicates’. While the elimination of collective bargaining and the right to strike facilitated the exploitation of labor and held down wages, over the long run employers would find themselves adversely affected by the imposition of rigid controls of labor relations that impeded the flexible reassignment of workers to new tasks, and, in effect, prevented employers from dismissing incompetent or redundant workers.

Analytically, a convenient point of departure for our brief examination of the nature and dynamics of the traditional Southern European state is to point to its two enduring but also sharply contrasting structural characteristics, which, in one form or another, lasted well into the second half of the twentieth century, before becoming greatly eroded and undermined (but not completely erased) in the course of the last three to four decades. These characteristics are what we call the ‘heaviness’ and, at the same time, the ‘weakness’ of the traditional state in the region—characteristics which, despite very significant variation in the origins and subsequent state-building experiences observed in each of the four countries, were sufficiently pronounced as to allow us to speak of a shared pattern in an ideal typical sense.

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