*All translations from Dutch and French are the author's. Original texts can be made available upon request. The article was completed while the author was Hoover Research Fellow at the Université Catholique de Louvain. He would like to thank Philippe Van Parijs, André-Paul Frognier, Sophie Weerts, David Robichaud and the anonymous reviewers of the journal for their comments. The author would also like to thank Jeffrey Kopstein, Luc Turgeon and Steve White for their suggestions on an earlier version of this article.
Sub-state nationalism and the left–right divide: critical junctures in the formation of nationalist labour movements in Belgium*
Version of Record online: 27 SEP 2005
Nations and Nationalism
Volume 11, Issue 4, pages 551–570, October 2005
How to Cite
Erk, J. (2005), Sub-state nationalism and the left–right divide: critical junctures in the formation of nationalist labour movements in Belgium. Nations and Nationalism, 11: 551–570. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8129.2005.00219.x
- Issue online: 27 SEP 2005
- Version of Record online: 27 SEP 2005
Abstract. Despite their similar political agendas, sub-state nationalist movements in the industrialised West align themselves on different positions along the left–right spectrum. Through an analysis of Belgian sub-state nationalist movements, this article proposes an explanation for this phenomenon by focusing on critical junctures. In particular, the focus is on the difference between Walloon and Flemish nationalist labour movements. Walloon nationalism has historically been led by socialist trade unions, while Catholic trade unions form a core part of the Flemish nationalist movement. The article seeks to explain this pattern by analysing the critical political alliances formed during the introduction of universal suffrage. The elections of 1894 established socialists as the dominant force in Wallonia and Catholics as dominant in Flanders. The emerging pillarised social structure ensured the reinforcement of the initial choices.