The politics of Irish labour activation: 1980 to 2010

Murphy, Mary (2012) The politics of Irish labour activation: 1980 to 2010. Administration, 60 (2). pp. 27-49. ISSN 0001-8325

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Unlike most OECD countries, Ireland has not yet developed full labour activation policy, but is under increasing pressure to do so. This paper explores why Irish labour activation policy and implementation stalled over the last three decades and the reasons for policy drift in this area. Framed by two crises, the paper maps the politics of Irish labour activation from the 1980s crisis up to the contemporary crisis. It first analyses the politics of labour activation by tracing shifts in political discourses about labour activation over the last three decades. It then draws on bottom-up implementation theory to examine the micro politics of implementation, referring briefly to implementation of supportive labour activation strategies in the 1990s and reviewing in more depth the National employment action plan in the 2000s. It then maps institutions, political debates and advocacy coalitions to assist in understanding the politics of Irish labour activation policy and how its implementation was shaped and stalled. This analysis of the institutional, ideational, political interests and international factors that shaped or postponed Irish movement from passive to active welfare administration helps us better understand contemporary issues concerning the relationship between political discourse about labour activation and its implementation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Labour activation; Ireland; implementation; discourse; policy coalitions;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
Item ID: 4619
Depositing User: Dr. Mary Murphy
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2013 09:52
Journal or Publication Title: Administration
Publisher: Institute of Public Administration of Ireland
Refereed: Yes

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