Industrial Relations, Political Parties, and Political Systems | Call for Papers for Special Issue – ILR Review


Industrial Relations, Political Parties, and Political Systems

Call for Papers for Special Issue
ILR Review

Guest Editors:

– Chiara Benassi, University of Bologna, Italy (
– J. Ryan Lamare, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA (
– Arianna Tassinari, University of Bologna, Italy (
– Chris F. Wright, University of Sydney, Australia (


Political parties and political systems have long been implicit features of industrial relations (IR) scholarship concerning the state. Historical perspectives, such as Dunlop’s (1958) *Industrial Relations Systems* and Hall and Soskice’s (2001) *Varieties of Capitalism*, have acknowledged the state’s central role in mediating capital-labor relations. However, these theories often view the state as a neutral mediator rather than a proactive political entity. This approach tends to overlook that state activities in regulating work and IR are inherently party-political and embedded in political systems.

Implicit Treatment in IR Scholarship:

The implicit treatment of political parties and political systems in IR scholarship stems from their seemingly obvious importance. Center-left and left-wing parties typically have strong historical ties with trade unions, promoting pro-worker legislation, whereas center-right and right-wing parties generally align with business interests (Frege and Kelly 2003; Streeck and Hassel 2003). However, comparative political systems literature provides a more nuanced view, recognizing varied support levels for worker protection, legitimacy of trade unions, and business interests across different economies (Bulfone and Afonso 2020; Hamann and Kelly 2007; Wright and McLaughlin 2021).

Recent Developments:

Recent changes necessitate reevaluation of these dynamics, such as the decline of two-party systems, the rise of non-traditional parties, and the engagement of working-class voters by extreme-right populist parties (Budd and Lamare 2021; Mosimann, Rennwald, and Zimmerman 2019; Rathgeb 2018). Additionally, unions and employers are addressing non-material issues like gender and race inequality, migration, and climate change, expanding their engagement with various political parties (Flanagan and Goods 2022; Lee and Tapia 2021; Riordan and Kowalski 2021). Cooperation between center-right governments and trade unions during the COVID pandemic is another example that challenges traditional IR assumptions (Brandl 2023).

Research Gaps:

There are significant gaps in IR scholarship on political parties and systems, exacerbated by recent developments. These gaps highlight the need for interdisciplinary insights from comparative political economy and political sociology.

Call for Papers:

We invite papers exploring the relationships between IR, political parties, and political systems. Topics may include:

– How political systems shape and are shaped by IR
– Relationships between extremist/populist parties, unions, and employers
– The rise of non-traditional parties and workplace connections
– Non-union voice effects on political party support
– Impact of structural shocks (e.g., COVID, climate transitions) on IR actors
– Theoretical advancements on these relationships
– Comparative studies from under-researched regions (e.g., Latin America, Southeast Asia)
– The role of organized labor in democratization processes

Submission Guidelines:

Interested contributors should submit an extended abstract (max. 1,000 words) by October 15, 2024, via email to The abstract should outline the research question, paper contribution, and empirical analysis or theoretical model. Questions should be directed to the guest editors.

Selected authors will be invited to submit full papers and participate in an in-person workshop at the 2025 SASE Annual Meeting (July 9–12, 2025, in Montreal, Canada). Full paper submission deadline: September 30, 2025. All invited papers will undergo double-blind review.


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– Bishara, Dina. 2023. *ILR Review* 76(4):627–45.
– Brandl, Bernd. 2023. *Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society* 62(2):145–71.
– Budd, John W., and J. Ryan Lamare. 2021. *British Journal of Industrial Relations* 59(3):757–87.
– Bulfone, Fabio, and Alexandre Afonso. 2020. *Comparative Political Studies* 53(5):809–46.
– Doellgast, Virginia, et al. 2021. *ILR Review* 74(3):555–79.
– Dunlop, John T. 1958. *Industrial Relations Systems*.
– Flanagan, Frances, and Caleb Goods. 2022. *Journal of Industrial Relations* 64(4):479–98.
– Ford, Michele, and Michael Gillan. 2016. *Journal of Industrial Relations* 58(2):167–82.
– Frege, Carola M., and John Kelly. 2003. *European Journal of Industrial Relations* 9(1):7–24.
– Hall, Peter A., and David Soskice. 2001. *Varieties of Capitalism*.
– Hamann, Kerstin, and John Kelly. 2007. *Comparative Political Studies* 40(8):971–94.
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– Hyman, Richard. 2008. In *Sage Handbook of Industrial Relations*, 258–83.
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– Lee, Tamara L., and Maite Tapia. 2021. *ILR Review* 74(3):637–62.
– Mosimann, Nadja, et al. 2019. *Economic and Industrial Democracy* 40(1):65–90.
– Rathgeb, Philip. 2018. *Strong Governments, Precarious Workers*.
– Riordan, Christine A., and Alexander M. Kowalski. 2021. *ILR Review* 74(3):580–606.
– Streeck, Wolfgang, and Anke Hassel. 2003. In *International Handbook of Trade Unions*, 335–65.
– Western, Bruce. 1997. *Between Class and Market*.
– Wright, Chris F., and Colm McLaughlin. 2021. *Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society* 60(3):338–69.