Constructing a Socialist Constituency. The Social Democratic Language of Politics in the Netherlands, c. 1890–1950
Number of pages
SourceArchiv für Sozialgeschichte, 53, (2013), pp. 175-202
Article / Letter to editor
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Archiv für Sozialgeschichte
SubjectPublic and private life: the history of politics and human life courses
This article explores the language of politics of the Dutch »Sociaal-Democratische Arbeiderspartij« (SDAP) in election campaigns between 1894 and 1948. It challenges the dominant interpretation of the SDAP as the political representative of the working class. Long before the notion of »volkspartij« would become the hallmark of electoral politics, the social democrats tried to broaden their appeal by targeting specific occupational groups outside the working class, like farmers, shopkeepers and market gardeners. Moreover, from early on, the SDAP used religious discourse to lure voters away from the confessional parties. In the late 1930s, the party reformulated its political discourse. Its ambition to be a broad-based people’s party from now on was underpinned by a practical, predominantly non-religious and non-Marxist, but nonetheless anti-capitalist language of politics that centred on the party’s social-economic agenda and would remain dominant after the Second World War.
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