Sociology Index


Corporatism is a political ideology historically associated with fascism. Corporatism upheld strong political leadership and strict social hierarchy and attacked the democratic system as leading to inefficiency, indecisiveness and social disorganization. Although not necessarily opposed to formal electoral democracy, the corporatism doctrine minimizes the scope of democratic action and advocates organisations representing labour and capital should be directly involved in the making of public policy. Liberal corporatism was an influential component of the progressivism in the United States.

Since corporatism has been historically associated with the suppression of free labour unions, it has generally upheld the domination of corporate owners rather than creating a genuinely participating role for workers. Corporatism is related to the sociological concept of structural functionalism.

David Émile Durkheim advocated a form of corporatism which he called solidarism that advocated creating an organic social solidarity. Plato developed the concept of communitarian corporatism of nature-based classes and natural social hierarchies.

In kinship corporatism, societies based upon families and clans have been considered types of corporatism.

In absolutist corporatism, absolute monarchies subordinated corporatist systems and corporate groups to the authority of absolutist governments, which resulted in absolute corporatism.

Progressive corporatism supported group rights to members of the middle classes and working classes in order to secure cooperation among the classes.

Fascist corporatism was a top-down model of state control over the economy while the Roman Catholic Church's corporatism favoured a bottom-up corporatism in which groups such as families and professional groups would voluntarily work together.

Neo-corporatism favoured strong labour unions, employers' unions and governments that cooperated as "social partners" to negotiate and manage a national economy.

Chinese corporatism recognizes organizations like a national labour union, a business association, or a farmers' association, as the sole representative of the sectoral interests of the individuals, enterprises or institutions that comprise that organization's assigned constituency.

Structure versus culture again: Corporatism and the 'new politics' in 16 Western European countries - Bojan Todosijevic Zsolt Enyedi - Abstract: Various authors have hypothesized that corporatist institutional arrangements favor the development of 'new politics': new social movements, concern for issues such as peace and ecology, postmaterialist orientation and voting for left-libertarian parties. The results of the analysis show that corporatism is related to higher membership in peace movements and also to belief in the urgency of ecological problems. However, it is unrelated to postmaterialist values, votes for 'new parties', approval of the environmentalist and feminist movements, and willingness to contribute financially to environmental protection. The relationships between corporatism and 'new politics' is shown to be somewhat mediated by economic factors, while the hypothesis that postmaterialism is a principal factor behind the popularity of the new social movements is not substantiated. - European Journal of Political Research - Volume 42 Page 629 - August 2003.

Working amid Corporatism and Confusion: Foreign NGOs in China - Renee Yuen-Jan Hsia, Harvard Medical School, Lynn T. White, III, Princeton University. Foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) face impediments in the People’s Republic of China. Many such problems result from the NGOs’lack of stable connections to the government. Academic literature on China is rich with data about links between the state and indigenous "civil" organizations, but relations between the government and foreign development NGOs have received less coverage in public. This article bypasses the widely accepted view of the Chinese state as solely corporatist.

Beneath consensual corporatism: traditions of governance in the Netherlands - Walter J.M. Kickert. This article begins with a historical account of the various styles of governance in The Netherlands from the post–war period to date. That overview reveals the persistence of an underlying more traditional form of governance, that is, the tradition of consensual corporatism. Although conventionally believed to be an invention of the Catholic Church and subsequent political theorists, the present 20th and 21st historical review of this corporatist style of governance leads to the conclusion that its historical roots are, instead, the ageold Dutch state traditions of tolerance, pragmatism and consensus.

Corporatism in Decline? - An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Corporatism on Macroeconomic Performance and Industrial Disputes in 18 Industrialized Democracies - MARKUS M. L. CREPAZ, University of California, San Diego
During the 1970s and early 1980s most studies on corporatism indicated that corporatist policies led to lower unemployment and inflation and higher economic growth rates. In the mid- and late 1980s, however, voices claiming that corporatism is in "decline" became more and more frequent although hardly any empirical examinations were undertaken.

Public Sector Unions, Corporatism, and Macroeconomic Performance 
GEOFFREY GARRETT, Yale University, CHRISTOPHER WAY, Cornell University 
What accounts for the apparent breakdown of the positive relationship between powerful trade union organizations and macroeconomic performance? Is corporatism a relic of a different age, a luxury of the long postwar boom? Although the authors answer the latter question in the negative, they do contend that existing arguments about the macroeconomic consequences of corporatism should be significantly modified to take into account the impact of the growth of public sector unions on the relationship between institutional structure of labor movements and economic outcomes. The deteriorating performance commonly attributed to corporatism in the 1980s was limited to countries in which unions in the public sector and other sectors not exposed to international competition increasingly dominated national labor movements.