’The third way’: intellectuals and the future of social democratic politics

Mary WALSH, Mark Bahnisch

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this review essay we are interested in recent contributions to the growing
debate in politics and academe over the concept of the ’third way’ as both
theoretical prescription and policy solution. Rather than dissect these texts for the minutiae of the policy positions they adopt, what interests us is the sociology of these intellectual contributions to political debate and the politics of the theory that they construct. We firstly examine the context and background of the concept of the third way. Secondly, we look at the way in which a sociologist, two ’intellectual’ politicians and a ’talking head’ write the politics of the third way, assessing what this can tell us about the sociology of intellectuals in politics and the politics of theory as we move into the new millennium, where seemingly capitalism reigns triumphant over politics and society. We suggest that in fact, the third way is only a defacto third way and always remains within one imaginary pole of sociological consciousness, which reveals much that is interesting about the political unconscious of sociology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-106
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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