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Producing GlobalisationPolitics of Discourse and Institutions in Greece and Ireland$

Andreas Antoniades

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719078446

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719078446.001.0001

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Greece and Ireland as social agents in the 1990s

Greece and Ireland as social agents in the 1990s

(p.30) 2 Greece and Ireland as social agents in the 1990s
Producing Globalisation

Andreas Antoniades

Manchester University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces the case studies of Greece and Ireland, which were considered as social agents in the 1990s. It analyses the nature of the Greek-Irish comparison as social agents and suggests that this analysis allow us to elucidate the materialisation process of the hegemonic discourse of globalisation. This chapter contends that the European Union (EU) factor in the communication of globalisation discourse is challenging because the EU is both a part of and a response to globalisation.

Keywords:   case studies, Greece, Ireland, social agents, hegemonic discourse, globalisation

Why Greece and Ireland in a pair comparison? There are a number of reasons that make the comparison of these two countries interesting, especially with regard to the communication of globalisation discourse. These factors include their historical evolution, their socioeconomic development since their EU membership, their political culture and their contrasting models of political economy. Moreover, the choice of two countries within the same ‘regional block’ reduces the independent variables which are involved in the communication of globalisation discourse. Regional integration processes, such as the EU, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), constitute an important factor in the way in which countries are affected by and affect global trends and incentives. They thus constitute an important intervening variable for any project dealing with the interplay between national institutional settings and global processes. The choice of Greece and Ireland, that is of two member states of the EU, reduces the variables involved in the communication process by keeping the regional dimension ‘constant’. The latter, however, does not mean that this ‘regional effect’ is identical on the two member states under examination. Furthermore, the study of the EU factor in the communication of globalisation discourse is challenging, for the EU is both a part of, and a response to globalisation (Antoniades, 2007). Below we examine the nature of the Greek-Irish comparison, focusing on these two countries as social agents in the 1990s.

Of what are Greece and Ireland cases?

This is a rather static question, as its main point of reference is the established politico-economic models found in European comparative politics and economics literature, i.e. the Anglo-Saxon, the Continental, the Scandinavian and the Mediterranean. In this regard Greece is (p.31) classified in the Southern European or Mediterranean model1 of polity and political economy – a model which is usually treated as a subcategory of the Continental Model2 and Ireland is classified in the Anglo-Saxon model of polity and political economy (even if it is not the most representative case of it.)3 Yet it should be noted here that these two models (i.e. the Anglo-Saxon and the Southern European) signify different things to the different disciplines of political science, and thus it is hard to draw a clear and definite division line concerning the countries included in each model. In most cases, however, the United Kingdom and Ireland represent the Anglo-Saxon tradition at the European level, whereas Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain constitute the core of the Southern European model.

This classification is also followed by the influential studies of Rhodes and Mény (1998) and Hall and Soskice (2001a). In particular, Rhodes and Mény (1998) classify European states in three groups according to the nature of their institutional arrangements and welfare states:4 the ‘Scandinavian’ (Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway), the ‘Germanic-Continental’ (Germany, France, BENELUX, Austria, Switzerland) and the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ (UK, Ireland), and they refer to Southern Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece) as a separate variant of the ‘Continental’ group (see also Ferrera, 1998). Similarly, Hall and Soskice (2001a), based on a well-developed literature in comparative political economy, have argued that the industrially advanced OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries can be classified into three categories: (a) organised market economies (e.g. Germany, Japan), where there is an extensive institutional support for the coordination of politico-economic agents; (b) liberal market economies (e.g. USA, UK, Ireland), where there is less institutional support available for non-market forms of coordination; and (c) a more ambiguous category associated with Mediterranean capitalism (e.g. Italy, France, Greece).

What follows is a brief presentation of the characteristics with which the Anglo-Saxon and Southern European models are associated.5 It is important to stress from the outset that in this project these models do not serve explanatory purposes, and their accuracy in describing Greek and Irish politico-economic systems is not taken for granted. They are rather used as a point of departure. The undertaken ‘pair comparison’ will test their accuracy and their limits both in descriptive and analytical terms. Therefore it is important to keep in mind that the contrast of the two models that follows aims at constructing an ideal-type axis of analysis, which can be questioned and problematised by the analysis of the Greek and Irish cases. (p.32) Finally, it should be emphasised that the various characteristics of each model are not independent from each other, but interact in multiple ways and complex historically evolved patterns where ‘causes’ became ‘effects’ and vice versa.

The Anglo-Saxon model is usually associated with early democratisation. Thus, Britain and the USA are the classical examples of the ‘first wave’ of democratisation, whereas Greece, Portugal and Spain are examples of the ‘third wave’ (Huntington, 1991). In this classification Ireland would be placed in-between the first (1828–1926) and the second (1943–62) wave of democratisation.

Furthermore, the Anglo-Saxon model is associated with pluralism in the organisation of societal interests and state-society relations, the Continental model is associated with ‘neo-corporatism’ (or ‘societal’ and ‘liberal’ corporatism), and the Southern European model is associated with ‘state corporatism’ (or statism).6 Let us confine ourselves to the following characteristics of each category. Pluralist systems are typically associated with an individualistic social culture, and a clear separation between state and society (Cawson, 1978). Furthermore, the role of the state in these systems is confined to the arbitration of competition among the various societal groups and interests (ibid.). Neo-corporatist systems, on the other hand, are typically associated with a consociational social culture. State and society in these systems are in an ‘institutionalised’ and ‘collaborationist’ relationship (Schmitter, 1979), and thus the state, rather than being an arbiter, is a partner which, along with employers and employees, shapes the trajectory of socio-economic development (Lehmbrunch, 1979). Finally, state corporatism signifies the ‘from above’ compulsory intervention of the state, which aims at the restriction and/or the control of the voice of societal interests, and not the creation of a ‘genuine collaboration’ between these interests and the state, as in the case of neo-corporatism (Schmitter, 1979). State corporatism is usually associated with conditions of late development and late industrialisation, such as in Southern Europe, the Balkans and Latin America.7

Hence the nature and the function of the state and its relationship with society are very different in the Anglo-Saxon and the Southern European models. In the former the state is – or is assumed to be – a ‘Weberian-type’ state; it is small and functional, with a well-developed independent bureaucracy, where formal and transparent rules and practices are dominating, and where meritocracy prevails over patronage and clientelistic relationships. It is a state which is clearly separated from society, and is able to resist particularistic organised interests. Finally, it is a state which exists and functions in (p.33) interaction with a well-developed civil society. In a stereotypical sense the Southern European state is considered to be the exact opposite. The state can hardly be described as ‘Weberian’, and it is usually (very) big and dysfunctional. In particular, in most of the countries in this model there is a tradition of a patrimonial structure of state organisation, close to what Max Weber (1978) called ‘sultanism’. The bureaucracy is characterised by ‘extended politicisation of the top administrative ranks, enduring patronage patterns in recruitment for the public sector, uneven distribution of human resources, and formalism and legalism’ (Sotiropoulos, 2004; see also Dashwood, 1983). As a result, informal practices usually prevail over formal rules and procedures (for the Greek case, see Spanou, 1996; Laffan, 2006), and clientelistic practices and patronage infuse society into the state, and undermine ‘both the technical capacity … and legitimacy of public administration’ (ibid.: 474; Ferrera, 1998: 87). As Ferrera (ibid.) argues, the ‘Southern’ state ‘is largely infiltrated and easily manipulated by organised interests (and in particular political parties)’, and it is exactly this ‘low degree of “stateness” of the Latin Systems … that isolates this family of nations from the others in Europe’ (see also Ferrera, 1996). Therefore, society and state are traditionally fused in the Southern model, and civil society – in its Anglo-Saxon and Continental expression – is underdeveloped.

Taking into consideration this brief contrast between the Anglo-Saxon and the Southern European models it would not be an exaggeration to argue that the two models occupy the two extremes of a hypothetical axis concerning the role and nature of state in the political system and its relationship with society. Yet, Ireland is certainly not a classical case of the Anglo-Saxon model. For instance, the Irish political economy is characterised by a strong social partnership, which is a defining characteristic of the Continental model of political economy (Hardiman, 2002). Furthermore, the state has played a different role in Irish economy in comparison to the ideal type of the Anglo-Saxon model (see O'Riain and O'Connell, 2000). The remainder of this chapter moves on from this abstract discussion on models to the specific characteristics of Greece and Ireland and the factors that make their comparison important for the analysis of the communication of the hegemonic discourse of globalisation.

Political system, political economy society

By way of introduction, it is worth noticing that both the Greek and Irish republics are based on and function according to their written constitutions. ‘The Constitution of Greece’ (‘To Σύνταγμα της (p.34) Ελλάδας’) was enacted in 1975, and the ‘Constitution of Ireland’ (‘Bunreacht na hEireann’) was enacted in 1937. The form of government in both Greece and Ireland is that of a parliamentary republic,8 and the Constitutions of both countries recognise popular sovereignty as the basis and the source of all powers.9

Political system: the triangle of president – government and prime minister – parliament

Democratic regimes are usually classified according to the constitutionally prescribed balance of power between the presidency the government/prime minister and the parliament. In this regard both the Greek and Irish political systems are highly centralised, and are characterised by a critical concentration of power in the hands of the prime minister.10 The presidency in both systems performs a rather symbolic function, and the parliament is too government dependent to act as counterbalance. Let us consider these issues in some depth.

The Greek ‘President of the Republic’11 and the ‘President of Ireland’ (‘Uachtaran na hEireann’)12 are constitutionally the supreme figures in their polities, but their role and powers are more symbolic than real. In the Greek case the president of the republic is elected with a special majority by the parliament (Article 32), and is constitutionally responsible for the ‘function of the institutions of the Republic’ (Article 30.1). The powers of the Greek president were curtailed by the constitutional amendment of 1986, when all the actual powers of the president were transferred to the parliamentary majority, and in real terms to the prime minister (Alivizatos, 1993: 68). Yet it should be mentioned that, depending on the person in office, the influence of the institution to the public discourse varies. The case of the president of Ireland is similar. The latter, even though s/he is elected by a direct vote (Article 12.2.1) and according to the constitution takes precedence over all other persons in Ireland (Article 12.1), has no decisive power in the Irish political system (Elgie, 1999). As in the Greek case, the person in office may make a difference in the influence that the institution of presidency exercises on the public discourse, but again this function is/can be confined and/or controlled by the government (see Article 13.7). Hence the presidency in both Greece and Ireland lacks the constitutional means to act as a counterbalance to the powers of prime minister. The same applies to the parliaments of these two countries.

Ireland's parliament (‘Oireachtas’) is bicameral.13 It consists of a directly elected House of Representatives, called the Dail, and an indirectly elected Senate, called the Seanad (Article 15.2). The Greek (p.35) parliament on the contrary is a unicameral one and is called the Vouli.14 This difference in the two systems, however, should rather be treated as a difference in form and not in substance,15 in so far as both parliaments are characterised by their inability to exercise any independent or significant control on their governments. There are two main reasons for this. First, is the fact that both the Dail and Vouli are party dominated (Gallagher, 1999: 178–179; Alivizatos, 1993: 70). This, along with the high degree of party discipline that is found in both Greek and Irish political systems,16 reduces significantly any possibilities for an independent role by the parliaments. Second, is the fact that government and parliament cannot in real terms be considered as separate bodies, in a ‘check and balance’ relationship. As Gallagher (1999: 178) notes for the Irish case, ‘it is more realistic to see parliament as wielding power through the government that it has elected than to see it as seeking to check a government that has come into being independently of it’. This applies to the Greek case too. Moreover, in the latter the existence of majoritarian single-party governments reduces even further the possibilities of an independent role by the Vouli.17 Therefore, even if the parliaments under examination are not only forums for party confrontation (i.e. talking parliaments) (Alivizatos, 1993), or even if they are not limited to legitimising legislation rather than making it (Gallagher, 1999), they certainly lack the power to counterbalance effectively the role and powers of their governments. As a result, the power in the political systems of both countries is concentrated in the government and in particular in the person of the prime minister.

It can thus be argued that the all-powerful role of the prime minister constitutes the single most important common characteristic of the Greek and Irish political systems.18 In both cases the prime minister is solely responsible for the formation and composition of the government and the cabinet, and for the policy-making process. S/he is the one who set the agenda for the government and thus for the parliament too, and who supervises and evaluates the policy implementation, and the performance of the various ministries.19 It can be argued that the only real constraints on the powers of the prime minister in both systems come from internal party politics (see ibid.: 238–245). Furthermore, in the case of Ireland, the emergence of ‘coalition politics’ since the 1990s (see below) has also had an influence in the role of the prime minister in the political system (see Laffan, 2006). Nevertheless, the latter do not cancel out the high and constitutionally prescribed centralisation of Greek and Irish political systems. This characteristic has justified the term ‘prime ministerial (p.36) government’ for the Irish political system (Elgie, 1999), which surely also describes the Greek case.

Up to this point the similarities of the political systems in Greece and Ireland have been outlined. The next section focuses on the differences in the political economy and the structure of interest representation in the two countries.

Political economy and structure of interest representation

A number of economic indicators and characteristics, such as those related to the size of state control domain of economy, the degree of economic regulation and strictness of employment legislation, and the percentage of part-time employment, clearly justify the classification of Greek and Irish economies in different models of political economy. Indicatively the economic indicators in Figure 2.1 clearly point to two opposite poles/clusters. At one end we have the Anglo-Saxon economies (UK and Ireland) and at the other end we have the Mediterranean economies (including Greece, Italy and Portugal).

Yet, if in the definition of models of political economy we include more factors, such as the nature of the structure of interest representation, then, although the differences between Greece and Ireland remain, the classification of these two countries in the aforemen-

Greece and Ireland as social agents in the 1990s

Figure 2.1 Ranking of selected EU countries according to various ‘models-of-capitalism’ indicators.

Note: 0–6 indicator from least to more state control, or, from least to more restrictive legislation

Source: Nicoletti et al. (2000).

(p.37) tioned models becomes more problematic (especially in the case of Ireland). The remainder of this section deals with this issue.

The contemporary Irish political economy and the structure of interest representation on which it is based are characterised by a high degree of institutionalisation. The latter is expressed through: (a) the institution of social partnership, i.e. the institutionalised cooperation among the government, the employers, the employees, as well as other civil society actors; and (b) the role and function of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), i.e. the tripartite consultative body, which sets the strategic goals and delineates the parameters for the negotiations among the social partners. As the Irish Congress of Trade Unions' official website declared in 2005, since the revival of the social partnership in 1987 ‘five three-year pacts have been agreed [see Table 2.1], each building on the success of the previous and attempting more ambitious targets for economic growth; investment in education and health care; social inclusion and action to promote enterprise and employment … ’.

Table 2.1 Social pacts in Ireland



Programme for National Recovery (PNR)


Programme for Economic and Social Progress (PESP)


Programme for Competitiveness and Work (PCW)


Partnership 2000


Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF)


Sustaining Progress (SP)


Towards 2016


This social partnership evolved as the most distinctive characteristic of Irish political economy in the 1990s, and many analysts contend that it is the successful functioning of this partnership that has led to and sustained the Irish economic miracle20 (see O'Donnell and O'Reardon, 2000; Hardiman, 2005). In this context the social partnership and NESC can be seen as the central institutions of politico-economic governance in which state and society meet, discuss, co-programme and co-decide in Ireland. The range of civil society organisations that participate in the meetings of social partnership has been indeed impressive and best demonstrates the highly consociational nature of the Irish political economy. For instance in the Partnership 2000 (the agreement reached by social partners in (p.38) 1997) these organisations included: the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed, the Conference of Religious of Ireland, the National Women's Council, the National Youth Council of Ireland, the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Protestant Aid and the Community Platform (see Murphy, 1999: 276–277). In the next agreement of the partnership, the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, the number of these organisations reached approximately thirty-five (Hardiman, 2000: 302). It is also important to underline that many of these voluntary and community sector organisations not only participate in the negotiations of the social partnership but also (since 1998) in the meetings of the NESC (ibid.: 303). In this regard Ireland is a striking exception to the Anglo-Saxon model in which such centralised and consensual mechanisms are unthinkable.

On the other hand, the Greek political economy is characterised by a considerably low degree of institutionalisation and centralisation (Featherstone, 2005a, 2008). The fusion of state and society, a defining characteristic of the Mediterranean model, is also explicit here. For instance, the Greek employee unions are not fully independent from the state, and until recently at least, could hardly be considered as organisations belonging to civil society. Yet, this dependency did not lead, as one might expect, to the control of organised interests by the state. It rather led to a fragmented bargaining system characterised by the antagonistic action of political factions, which had as a result the generation of ‘particularistic demands’, based on a strong ‘guild mentality’ (Mavrogordatos, 1993: 61–63; Lavdas, 1997;21 Pagoulatos, 2003; Kazakos, 2004; Featherstone, 2005a, 2008). This was a dominant characteristic also of the Irish political economy up to the end of the 1980s, when the revival of the institution of social partnership acquired an unprecedented dynamism. In the Greek case various attempts have been made since 1990 to develop an independent and viable social partnership on the basis of the neo-corporatist model (see Ioannou, 1999; Kioukias, 1997). Most importantly, in 1994 an ‘Economic and Social Council’ was created by law (2232/1994) having as its aim to provide the institutional framework for the development of a social partnership. Nevertheless the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) government that created the council in 1994 decided to follow the ad hoc model of a ‘National Social Dialogue’ in 1997 (Ioannou, 1999). Furthermore, the council was constitutionally recognised as an instrument of social dialogue with the 2001 constitutional amendment. The aim of this provision was to enhance the council's institutional role. Yet in practice it did not have any significant impact. Therefore in contrast to the well- (p.39) institutionalised social partnership in Ireland, the Greek political economy is characterised by under-institutionalisation and increased -even if diminishing- party domination in the representation of organised interests.

This contrast between the Greek and Irish political economies increases the interest of their comparison in terms of discourse communication. Although both countries have highly centralised political systems (that are characterised by the concentration of power in the person of prime minister), their political economies differ considerably.

The Irish economy is closer to the Anglo-Saxon model in terms of the role of state in the economy, the regulatory framework and the labour market, yet, at the same time, it is based on a highly institutionalised and consensual social partnership. Therefore, in Ireland the energies of actors are ‘focused on agreeing amongst themselves and on then persuading their own constituencies that the agreement is acceptable’, as Schmidt (2001; see also 2000) would characterise it. On the contrary, the Greek political economy is highly fragmented, with the result that global trends and discourses are not mediated by any thick consociational interest structure (see also Laffan, 2006).

From political economy to civil society

The preceding discussion on political economy and structures of interest representation points to the limits of a ‘models approach’ (i.e. Anglo-Saxon vs. Mediterranean) as a framework for capturing the social dynamics in the two countries. Several points could be made here. For instance, the aforementioned consociational base of the Irish political economy, which is unknown to the Anglo-Saxon model, is relatively new. Before the late 1980s, although the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) may have been able to veto industrial relations reforms, its ability to propose and bring about policy changes was limited (Hardiman, 1988: 207).

Yet, the divergence of Irish political economy from the ideal type of the Anglo-Saxon model is not a phenomenon of the 1980s. Ireland had never had, contrary to the Anglo-Saxon model, a non-party dominated public policy-making process, and an independent civil service (Hardiman, 1988: 205–206). Moreover, Irish political life has traditionally been characterised by ‘pervasive localism’ and clientelistic relations and, as Hardiman says, rather than mediating, governments were trying to accommodate all these diverse societal interests (Hardiman, 1988: 198–203). Hence, it can be argued that the Irish political economy up (at least) to the beginning of the 1990s (p.40) was characterised by fragmentation, and was dominated by particularistic interests – characteristics usually associated with the Southern European model. Moreover, it can also be argued that Ireland shares many historical characteristics of the ‘externally-centred industrialisation’ experienced by Portugal, Spain and Greece (Jacobsen, 1994: 23).22 It can thus be said that Ireland's divergence from the Anglo-Saxon model is remarkable both before and after the 1990s.

Nevertheless, the nature of the Irish economy remains closer to the Anglo-Saxon model. It is characterised by a small state sector and low involvement of state in economic activities, a flexible labour market and an Anglo-Saxon corporate governance culture. The latter two have been enforced to a great extent by the high degree of foreign direct investments coming from the USA.23 But these Anglo-Saxon elements coexist with a (newly born) consociational politico-economic structure of interest representation, and a (very old) community – rather than individualist – oriented social culture. All these elements produce an interesting hybrid model.

Greece and Ireland thus share a number of important socio-political and cultural characteristics. First, the community-oriented culture -as opposed to the ‘individualist orientation’ that characterises the Anglo-Saxon model- can be said to be still dominant in both Greek and Irish societies (or at least at the self-perceptions of their people). This community culture creates an invisible social net which is based on rather personal relationships and traditional social bonds.24 The important role that the institution of the family still plays in these two societies is not unrelated to this community culture. Moreover, with regard to the issue of public-private sphere division, one should not ignore the separate developmental trajectory of the ‘semi-peripheral’ countries of the EU. Hence in the UK and France for instance, the rise of a ‘private sphere’, which supplied the ‘vital space’ for the development of a ‘private/civil society’, has been the result of long standing social struggles. These struggles delineated a space in which private (economic) interests came together and developed a separate social sphere of (economic) transactions, in opposition to the state. Hence, ‘private/civil society’ and ‘state’ emerged in these societies as two separate and -to a high degree- oppositional spheres (Tsoukalas, 1993). On the contrary, in many cases in (semi-) peripheral societies, the emergence of these spheres was not the product of a particular historical development coming out of social struggles, but the result of ‘models and institutions transferring’ from the ‘European core’ (ibid.); a fact which created new hybrid models and trajectories.25 This ‘transplantation process’, dominant in colonial and late- (p.41) development conditions, has to be kept in mind when we think of categories such as public/private in Greece and Ireland. This is one more factor that brings Ireland closer to the South European model.26

A second point with regard to the socio-political culture of the two countries is the existence of a traditionally strong ‘underdog culture’, which is still (to a lesser degree though) informing and influencing their political culture today. Elements of such a culture can be said to include feelings and attitudes of introvertedness, exceptionalism and cultural insecurity27 while this underdog culture is instilled with a distinctive moral gravity and significance. The saying that: ‘O my son/We may be a small country/We may be a poor one/But we have our pride’28 [or, ‘/But we can hold our head high’],29 captures one of the traditionally commonest notions to be found in Irish and Greek societies. This notion has many times been accompanied by a tendency to introversion. If cultural heritage and national identity were to be protected, foreign influences and the ‘opening’ of the society had to be prevented or minimised. Yet, as analysed below, these feelings of insecurity and introvertedness have been challenged in both countries in the 1990s. For economic growth, along with the confidence generated by the EC/EU membership problematised these traditionally negative/defensive self-images (see below).30

Moreover, in both Ireland and Greece, the balance of ‘knowledge transfer’ ceased to be unidirectional in the 1990s. Ireland started to export the experience of its own successful model of growth and social partnership, as well as its experiences with EU membership; and Greece did the same with its own experiences of EU membership and public sector reform, especially towards its Balkan neighbours. These developments increased the pressures on traditional negative self-images and syndromes of inferiority. In this context, Professor O'Donnell, the Director of NESC, wrote in 2000: ‘[Ireland] is free to walk and run in the century that lies ahead … It leaves the century free of the two masters that dominated and constrained it – London and Rome. It is now free to reinvent itself’ (212). Of course, as is also argued below, this does not mean that the impact of the British legacy on Ireland's socio-political life is – or indeed can be – over. A good example of this is the centrality of the issue of neutrality in the negative referenda on the Nice Treaty in 2001 and the Lisbon Treaty in 2008.31

Let us close this section with a short reference to the role of the church in the two countries.32 Both societies are characterised by a high degree of homogenisation with regard to the religion of their population. In the Republic of Ireland the overwhelming majority of (p.42) the population is Roman Catholic (91.6%), whereas in Greece the majority of the people is attached to the Greek Orthodox Church (98%).33 Furthermore, according to various Eurobarometer surveys throughout the period 1990–2001, the Greeks and Irish remained among the most religious people in the European Union. For instance, in 1994, in response to the question: ‘Whether you do or you don't follow religious practices, would you say that you are: Religious/Not Religious/Agnostic/Atheist/Don't know … ’, 93% of the Greeks who participated in the survey – the highest percentage in EU12 – replied ‘religious’, whereas the Irish came fourth with 82% (the Portuguese were second with 89%, and the Italians were third with 82%). The EU12 average was 59% (Eurobarometer 42, 1995). In a similar survey on religious belief among young people two years later, the largest group of ‘practising believers’ was in Ireland with 49%, followed by Greece with 42%, and Italy with 41%. The EU15 average was 19.4% (Eurobarometer 47.2, 1997).

It is also important to note that religion in both countries is considered by the majority of the population to be an integral part of their national identity; and within this majority a (large) part would consider that ‘Greekness’ and ‘Irishness’ as forms of national identity cannot exist without Orthodoxy and Catholicism respectively.34 At least two points should be mentioned here. First, the church35 is considered to have played an important role historically in the preservation of national identity and in the fight for national independence.36 Second, personalities do make a difference in the way in which the church intervenes in political life. This was made clear with the election of Archbishop Christodoulos in Greece in 1998, and Cardinal Desmond Connell in Ireland in 1988, who both adopted an ‘interventionist’ stance in public affairs (for the Greek case, see Stavrakakis, 2002).

The nature and role of the church in the two countries, however, are considerably different. These differences are not only limited to historico-institutional aspects, such as the fact that the Greek church is a ‘national church’,37 whereas the Irish church is a ‘global’ (and hierarchically structured) one, but also extend to more functional social-specific aspects. Thus it can be argued that traditionally the Greek church depended on and was ‘used’ by the Greek state for its own purposes, rather than vice versa, which was the case in Ireland. Furthermore, it can be argued that church influence on the public discourse is more centralised in Greece than in Ireland. In the latter one finds a number of powerful interest groups, which, although they advance the church's positions, do not have any formal affiliation to (p.43) it. Such interest groups include the Pro-Life Amendment Campaign (PLAC), the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC), the Family Solidarity and the Anti-Divorce Campaign (Inglis, 2000: 54–55). In Greece on the other hand, the church's intervention in public discourse remains relatively centralised, and is mainly expressed through the church hierarchy itself.

To sum up, the pair comparison between Ireland and Greece proposed here is based on the characteristics set out in Table 2.2.

Table 2.2 Greece and Irel and: a focused comparison



Nature of comparison

Structure of interest representation


Highly institutionalised


Regional dimension




Political economy




Political system

Highly centralised, traditionally clientalistic

Highly centralised, traditionally clientalistic


Political culture

Late development

Late development


On the basis of these characteristics the following section compares and contrasts Greece and Ireland as social agents in the 1990s.

Greece and Ireland as social agents

Greece and Ireland as ‘extreme stories’ in the EU

One could argue that Ireland represents the most ‘successful story’ in the European Union. A country of the Regional Development Fund, with significant economic and social problems up to the mid/late 1980s, became the ‘European tiger’, succeeding in having a steadily impressive rate of growth after 1987. Figure 2.2 demonstrates this growth in comparison to Greece, the euro area, and the OECD average in the 1990s.

Indeed, from the ‘poorest of the rich’ in 1988 (Economist, 1988), Ireland became the ‘Celtic tiger’38 (see, among others, Gardiner, 1994: 9–21; Sweeney, 1998; O'Hearn, 1998, 2000; and for critiques, see Allen, 2000; Kirby, 2002) and ‘Europe's shining light’ (Economist, 1997) in the 1990s.39 Furthermore, the dynamism of Irish development (p.44)

Greece and Ireland as social agents in the 1990s

Figure 2.2 Growth in real GDP in Ireland and Greece: a comparative perspective (percentage change from previous year)

Source: OECD.

was not limited to within the EU borders. It is suggestive that in the ‘Globalisation Index’ used by the US journal Foreign Policy (published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), Ireland was found to be the most globalised country in the world throughout the period 2000–02 (Foreign Policy, 2002, 2003, 2004; see also Figure 2.7 below).40 The striking integration of Ireland in the structures of international economy in the 1990s is also evident from the following economic indicators (Figures 2.32.5).

On the other hand, it can be said that Greece in general represents the least ‘successful story’ in the European Union. A country of the Regional Development Fund as well, and a country which entered the EU in a rather better economic condition than Portugal and Spain, its Southern European counterparts, it was the only EU member state which, although it did not opt out, did not manage to fulfil the criteria and participate in the first wave of countries that entered into the third and final stage of the Economic and Monetary Union (i.e. Euro-zone) on 1 January, 1999.41 Moreover, according to Eurostat, throughout the period under examination and at least until 2008, Greece was the country with the second, after Portugal, lowest GDP per capita among the EU15. Indicatively, according to Eurostat in (p.45)

Greece and Ireland as social agents in the 1990s

Figure 2.3a Foreign balance contributions to changes in real GDP (percentage of real GDP of previous period, seasonally adjusted at annual rates)

Notes: aFigure 2.3 shows how payments from abroad (including the price of exports, and the inflows of capital and gold) contributed to Ireland's GDP in comparison to Greece, and the Euro area and OECD average. Source: OECD.

Greece and Ireland as social agents in the 1990s

Figure 2.4a Trade-to-GDP ratio (total trade) (The sum of exports and imports divided by GDP; current prices, current exchange rates)

Note: aThe trade-to-GDP ratio measures a country's ‘openness’ or ‘integration’ in the world economy. Source: OECD.

Greece and Ireland as social agents in the 1990s

Figure 2.5a Foreign direct investment intensity (Average value of inward and outward FDI flows divided by GDP, multiplied by 100)

Notes: No data were available for Greece during 1996–98, for Ireland for 1996 and for EU25 during 1996–2000. aThis index measures the intensity of investment integration within the international economy. Source: Eurostat.

2004, GDP per capita, expressed in terms of purchasing-power standards, was more than twice the EU25 average in Luxembourg, was nearly 40% above the EU25 average in Ireland, around 20% above average in Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Belgium, around 15% above average in Sweden and Finland, around 10% above average in France and Germany, and about 5% above average in Italy. Spain was just below the EU25 average, Greece, Cyprus and Slovenia were about 20% below average, while Portugal, Malta and the Czech Republic were around 30% below average (see also Figure 2.6).

It is also suggestive that in terms of the above-mentioned Foreign Policy ‘Globalisation Index’, Greece was at the bottom of the EU15 countries ranked, throughout the period 1999–2005 (Figure 2.7).

It would also be interesting to use the ‘Globalisation Index’ to compare three indicators of economic globalisation in Greece and Ireland, in the year 2001 (Table 2.3). (p.47)

Greece and Ireland as social agents in the 1990s

Figure 2.6 Per capita GDP in Greece and Ireland: a comparative perspective (in thousands ECU/Euro; current market prices)

Source: European Commission

Greece and Ireland as social agents in the 1990s

Figure 2.7 The Foreign Policy ‘Globalisation Index’ – selected EU member states (ranking rate: Absolute numbers, from 1 (the most globalised country of the Index) to 62 (the least globalised country of the Index)

Note: EU-GI average includes Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Source: the table is based on data from various ‘Foreign Policy - Globalisation Indexes’ (see Foreign Policy, 2002–07).


Table 2.3a Economic globalisation in Greece and Ireland in 2001: a comparative perspective


Foreign direct investments

Portfolio capital flows






























a The numbers indicate the position of the countries in the various categories of the ‘Globalisation Index’. The ranking is from 1 to 62, where 1 indicates the most globalised country and 62 the least globalised Source: the table is based on the Foreign Policy ‘Globalisation Index’ (see Foreign Policy, 2003).

From Table 2.3 we see that from the sixty-two countries that were ranked in the Foreign Policy Globalisation Index, for the year 2001, Ireland was in the third best position in terms of trade and FDIs, and in the first position in terms of portfolio investments, whereas Greece along with Italy were significantly low in the ranking, especially with regard to trade and foreign direct investments (FDIs). These data are indicative of the economic performance of these countries throughout (and beyond) the period under examination here.

This poor economic performance combined with an ‘idiosyncratic’ foreign policy during the 1980s generated a negative image of Greece in the European press. As a result, during the late 1980s and early 1990s, Greece was widely considered to be ‘an awkward partner or indeed a black sheep in the European Union’ (Tsoukalis, 1999).

To sum up, one can indeed refer to Greece and Ireland as two ‘extreme stories’ within the EU, i.e. ‘Europe's shining light’ on the one hand, and the ‘last to join the euro’ on the other. Yet this is not the only way to approach the recent developmental trajectories of the two countries.

From ‘extreme stories’ to ‘parallel lives’?

The argument put forward here is as follows. One of the characteristics of Greece and Ireland – at least up to the mid/end 1980s – was the strongly ‘traditional’ character of their societies (for Ireland, see Coacley, 1999b; for Greece, see Diamandouros, 1994; Tsoukalas, 1993a). The term ‘traditional’ is used here as opposite to the term ‘reflexive’. Put crudely a traditional society is one that does not deeply (p.49) question and/or re-examine its beliefs and practices. Identities, national interests and the boundaries of the community are clearly defined, and the way to pursue or protect them is beyond discussion and reflection. It can be argued that as of the late 1980s both Greece and Ireland entered a stage in their history characterised by intensive self-reflection and re-examination of traditionally well-rooted social beliefs and practices. Put sociologically and abstractly, they entered into a period in which the eternal struggle and balance between social structures and agency became weighted in favour of agency. Such a reading of the modern social change in Greece and Ireland is compatible with Anthony Giddens's conceptualisation of reflexive modernisation.42 It is also a reading which focuses not only on the level of individuals but also on that of society as a whole. It refers to the re-examination and re-evaluation of beliefs and practices at the level of collective intentionality. It refers to a re-examination of the boundaries and nature of the political community and to a reshuffle of the societal forces that struggle to structure the content of collective intentionality.43 I would argue that two broad developments played a crucial role in this process of self-reflection in Greece and Ireland.

First, is the accession to the European Community. The ‘project EC/EU’ had a crucial role in enhancing the aforementioned dynamics in the two societies. Indeed change in modern Greek and Irish polities – along with all the other EU member states – can hardly be studied and understood if the impact of European integration and Europeanisation, as an explanatory factor for change in these polities, is neglected.44 Along these lines it can be argued that in the case of Ireland, the European Community constituted and incarnated an alternative to the dependency on the UK (see also Coakley 1999b: 47; Garvin, 2000; O'Donnell, 2000: 162–166). Ireland seized the opportunity and found itself in a position to confront its own (new European) future. In the case of Greece, the European Community incarnated a much needed deus ex machina for the ‘reformist social forces’ (Diamandouros, 1994), and a much needed injection of confidence which led Greece to face its well-rooted national insecurities (mainly on the side of Greek-Turkish relations).45 The Greek-Turkish rapprochement in the late 1990s should rather be interpreted through such a framework. Furthermore, in both countries the financial support of the EC/EU was instrumental in changing the ‘material context’ experienced in Greece and Ireland (and thus decisive in bringing about the reinvention and redefinition of the boundaries of community discussed below).

(p.50) The second factor behind the reflexive turn of the two societies refers to a significant – both in real and symbolic terms – disruption between, on the one hand the socio-economic past, and the perceptions that accompanied it, and on the other the socio-economic present and the experiences and images it generates. In the case of Ireland, the ‘country of the famine’46 and the ‘poorest of the rich’,47 experienced an ‘economic miracle’. Professor Brendan Walsh (2000) refers to this transformation as ‘from Rags to Riches’. It is hardly disputable that this economic boom and the influx of FDIs48 had a significant impact on the way in which Irish people think of themselves. Furthermore and maybe more importantly for the aforementioned reflexive change in Irish self-conceptualisation, was the shift of Irish society from a traditional emigration profile to that of immigration in the 1990s. Thus Ireland for the first time in its modern history experienced the growth of sizeable immigrant communities (see Mac Einri, 2001). Figure 2.8 is indeed indicative of the change in migration that took place in the 1990s.

The impact of this changing economic and social geography on the self-perception of the Irish should not be underestimated. It would not be an exaggeration to argue that these developments put Irish society in a position to mirror and redefine itself, through the ‘new foreigners’.49

Greece and Ireland as social agents in the 1990s

Figure 2.8 Migration in Ireland

Note: a The data for 2008 are an estimate. Source: Central Statistics Office, Ireland, 2008

(p.51) On the other hand, one can observe a similar disruption between the socio-economic past and present in the Greek case. Greece did not experience an economic miracle. Nevertheless, the economic policies that took place during the 1990s addressed some chronic structural imbalances of the Greek economy, and brought high growth rates and economic stability; developments that generated positive reports in foreign media and international economic institutions.50 This U-turn in macroeconomic figures and policies was epitomised by the entrance of Greece into the eurozone in January 2001. These developments generated a new sense of confidence in large parts of Greek society, and problematised many traditional negative self-images. Moreover the new economic and political geography of the Balkan region and the significant role of Greece within it, constituted an important factor in the reflexive redefinition of Greek self-understanding. In particular Greece emerged as: (a) a point of entrance to Balkan markets for FDIs; (b) a significant FDI home country itself; and (c) a stabilisation force in the region.51 Finally and again most interestingly, Greek society also shifted during the 1990s from a traditionally emigration society, to one of immigration, experiencing for the first time in its post-war history sizeable immigrant and economic refugee communities (Clogg, 2003; Cholezas and Tsakloglou, 2008). In particular, according to official data, in 1991 immigrants in Greece constituted approximately 1.5% of the overall population (1991 census), while in 2001 they constituted approximately 7% of the population (2001 census). Yet most researchers would agree that in the 1980s the immigrant population was closer to 2.5% (see Zavos, 2005: 12), while in the 2000s is approximately 9% of the overall population (see Zavos, 2005; Triandafyllidou, 2005). This phenomenon, as has been argued for the Irish case, led Greek society to look in the mirror and to reflect on its past and future (see also, Diamandouros, 2001).52

The U-turn of the early 1990s

Thus until the 1990s both countries had experienced a long period of unfortunate economic management. In the case of Ireland one can observe ‘the continuation of protectionism into the late 1950s’ and an ‘irresponsible fiscal experimentation in the late 1970s’ (Walsh, 2000: 121); policies that resulted in a deep economic crisis in the 1980s. It is also worth mentioning that according to surveys, during the period 1979–83 the Greeks and the Irish were prominent among the peoples of the EU in their support for ‘classic economic policies of the left’ (Coackley, 1999b: 60).

(p.52) The turning point for Ireland may be put in the second half of the 1980s, when the tripartite approach to national socio-economic development was revived – in a much wider basis and agenda -through the NESC. As Gary Murphy notes, the NESC's Strategy for Development agreed in 1986 formed the basis upon which the new Programme for National Recovery was negotiated by the social partners in 1987 (1999: 274–277). From this point onwards an impressively successful model of consociational socio-economic governance has been functioning in Ireland.53

In Greece on the other hand, protectionism with irresponsibly expansionist fiscal policies, was followed up to the end of 1980s, with a small stabilisation parenthesis in 1985–87 (see Katseli, 1990; Kazakos, 1992; Alogoskoufis, 1995). The last years of the 1980s were indeed very formative for the modern Greek politico-economic system. From an economic point of view, a series of events brought the country to the brink of economic disaster. The government of PASOK (elected in 1984) abandoned its 1985–87 economic stabilisation programme and, in a pre-electoral climate, adopted an expansionary economic policy. The two coalition governments that followed (see below), not only failed to reverse the rapid deterioration of macroeconomic indicators but also contributed to the increase of government deficits. When the centre-right party New Democracy (ND) came into power in April 1990 the Greek economy was undergoing its most severe economic crisis since 1974, the date of birth of the fourth Greek Republic. The governmental change of the 1990 can be considered a turning point in the modern Greek politico-economic history. It signified, a shift from statist to deregulation/liberalisation-oriented policies and discourses (i.e. privatisation, competition, integration into the European and global markets); thus signifying a shift in the dominant economic paradigm (Kazakos, 1992a).54 It was a moment of transition in which an expansionist and purely clientelistic state started to be transformed into a stabilisation (Pagoulatos, 2001) and a modernisation state (a transformation that does not seem to have ever been completed).

The beginning of the 1990s can also be considered a turning point for the nature and function of the Greek and Irish political systems. In the case of Greece the turn from the 1980s to the 1990s was marked by the formation of two – if short-lived – unprecedented coalition governments. After eight years in government, the socialist party PASOK was replaced in power in 1989 by a previously unthinkable coalition government, consisting of the centre-right ND party and Synaspismos, a coalition of the Communist and other left-wing (p.53) parties. After five months in office (June-October 1989), this coalition government was replaced by another, consisting of all three major Greek parties (ND, PASOK and Synaspismos). This all-party government was headed by a widely respected Professor of Economics, Xenophon Zolotas, and also lasted only five months. It was finally replaced by a weak ND government in April 1990.55 These successive coalition governments marked a historical departure from well-established political cleavages in the Greek political scene;56 thus constituting the epitome of Greece's democratic consolidation (Pridham and Verney, 1991). Moreover, these coalitions played a significant role in the decline of the (polemical) polarisation that traditionally characterised Greek politics (Pridham and Verney, 1991; Pappas, 2001).57 This development led to an enhancement of the base and role of civil society in Greek political life.

During the same period, Ireland experienced an equivalent transition in its political system. The turn from the 1980s to the 1990s signified the end of a long-standing, polarised pattern in Irish politics (1948–89): the ‘Fianna Fáil versus the rest’ system (Mair, 1999). During this period Fianna Fáil was the only party which was in a position to form, and did form, single-party majority governments, whereas Fine Gael and the Labour Party often had to choose between forming a coalition in order to come to power, or stay in opposition. This system came to an end in 1989, when Fianna Fáil, in order to form a government, entered a coalition with the Progressive Democrats.58 The years that followed were indeed formative for Irish political life. In the elections of 1992 a traditionally unthinkable coalition government was formed out of Fianna Fáil and the Labour Party. In 1994, however, the Labour Party left the government and returned to its ‘historical ally’, Fine Gael. Thus a new government was formed by Fine Gael and the Labour Party, without general elections being held. Taking into consideration the above, 1989 was indeed a landmark in Irish politics. It gave birth to a ‘new politics of coalition-making’, initiating a new, compromising style of party politics (Mair, 1999: 148). As the elections of 1997, 2002 and 2007 have demonstrated, the era of single-party governments (and voting behaviour) in Ireland may be over.59

Here, one should also mention the different electoral systems of the two countries. The electoral system used in Ireland is proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote (PR-STV) (see Sinnott, 1999), whereas the Greek electoral system is one of reinforced proportional representation. It can be argued that the main difference between the two systems is that the PR-STV in Ireland (p.54) facilitates proportional representation in the Dail, and therefore creates a greater potential for coalition governments, whereas the Greek electoral system encourages and enhances the formation of single-party majority governments. Yet any generalisations on the effects of any electoral system are rather meaningless without an analysis of the socio-political trajectory, context and culture in which this system is embedded.


This chapter examined the nature and characteristics of the pair comparison between Greece and Ireland. This analysis was further contextualised by contrasting these two countries as social agents in the 1990s, i.e. the period of the materialisation of the hegemonic discourse of globalisation. It was argued that while these countries represented two extreme stories within the EU, at the same time they were undergoing a similar modernisation process. The comparison between Greece and Ireland will allow us to elucidate the materialisation process of the hegemonic discourse of globalisation. It will also allow us to examine how globalisation was materialised in countries with different political economies and what has been the role of different domestic structures of interest representation in this process.

Both Greece and Ireland can be considered ‘deviant cases’ in the group of political economies to which they belong (i.e. the Mediterranean vs. Anglo-Saxon group). The problem with comparing deviant cases is that the research conclusions may not be easily comparable with already existing hypotheses and academic assumptions. Studies of ‘deviant cases’, however, have the potential to push the limits and widen the horizons of comparative research, and increase the possibility for unexpected research findings (see Lijphart, 1971: 65).

There is one important difference between Greece and Ireland: the fact that in Ireland the spoken language is English. This factor is indeed important, considering the global status of the English language, but it does not affect the substance of the research project proposed here. For the issue under examination in this thesis is the actual materialisation process in each country. The language that is spoken in a country does not influence the nature of this materialisation process, nor does it affect the nature of political economy or the domestic structures that are involved in it.

Having developed our theoretical framework in chapter 1, and presented our case studies in chapter 2, Part II turns to the examination (p.55) of the materialisation of the globalisation discourse in Greece and Ireland.



(1) This model is also referred to as ‘Latin’. See for instance Therborn, 1995 and Ferrera, 1998.

(2) Referred to also as the ‘Germanic’ model. See for instance Rhodes and Mény, 1998.

(3) Indeed, the use of the term Anglo-Saxon for Ireland sounds rather bizarre, considering its history, culture and relationship with the UK, which will be considered later in this chapter.

(4) See also Esping-Andersen's book The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism (1990), on which the Rhodes and Mény's approach is based.

(5) In the comparative studies literature the most frequently employed strategy is the juxtaposition of countries belonging to the Continental and the Anglo-Saxon models. By contrast countries from the Southern European model are less often used in comparisons with Anglo-Saxon or ‘orthodox’ Continental cases. Arguably, this is so mainly for two reasons: (a) the different developmental trajectory of the countries that belong to the Southern model makes it hard to compare these countries with countries from the other two models; and (b) the ‘ambiguous’ (see for instance, Hall and Soskice, 2001a) or ‘hard to classify’ character of the countries in this model. Yet, the different developmental trajectory of the South European countries is an asset for research projects which seek ‘to show the robustness of a relationship by demonstrating its validity in a range of contrasting settings’ (the ‘most different research design’ according to Przeworski and Teune, 1970), or which seek to explore how does domestic context matter, in the way in which different states react to common incentives. Moreover, it can be argued that the hard-to-classify character of Southern European countries is rather an advantage, which increases the richness of comparative studies and verifies the diversity and pluralism of European tradition in general. Hence the hard-to-classify character of the Southern model is a problem/threat only for established categorisations and dichotomies, which cannot account for these ‘ambiguous’ cases, and thus need to reduce difference to particularism.

(6) For a classical comparison between pluralism and corporatism, see Schmitter, 1979. In particular according to Schmitter ‘pluralism can be defined as a system of interest representation in which the constituent units are organised into an unspecified number of multiple, voluntary, competitive, non-hierarchically ordered and self-determined (as to type or scope of interest) categories which are not specially licensed, recognised, subsidised, created or otherwise controlled in leadership selection or interest articulation by the state and which do not exercise a monopoly of representational activity within their respective categories’ (ibid: 15); (p.56) corporatist is defined as ‘a system of interest representation in which the constituent units are organised into a limited number of singular, compulsory, non-competitive, hierarchically ordered and functionally differentiated categories, recognised or licensed (if not created) by the state and granted a deliberate representational monopoly within their respective categories in exchange for observing certain controls on the selection of leaders and articulation of demands and supports’ (ibid.: 13). Finally, Schmitter (based on Manoilesco, 1936) distinguishes societal corporatism from state corporatism on the basis that in the latter organised interests ‘were created by and kept as auxiliary and dependent organs of the state which founded its legitimacy and effective functioning on other bases’ (ibid.: 20).

(7) For a comparison of the developmental trajectories of the Balkans and Latin America, see Mouzelis, 1986. In addition, for a Marxist analysis of the ‘dependent development’ and ‘externally centred’ industrialisation in Portugal, Greece and Spain, see Poulantzas, 1976.

(8) Article 1.1 of the Greek constitution. The Irish constitution lacks an explicit statement about the ‘form of government’.

(9) For the Greek case: Article 1 paras 2 and 3; for the Irish: Article 6.

(10) For the Irish case, see Elgie, 1999; Connolly and O'Halpin, 1999; Ward, 1994; O'Leary, 1991. For the Greek case, see Alivizatos, 1993. Moreover, King (1994) classifies Greece and Ireland in the six western European states with the most ‘influential’ heads of government.

(11) See Articles 30–50 of the Greek constitution.

(12) See Articles 12–14 of the Irish constitution.

(13) See Articles 15–27 of the Irish constitution.

(14) See Articles 51–80 of the Greek constitution.

(15) Considering the limited role and power of the Seanad in Irish politics, the focus of our analysis is on Dail (see Gallagher, 1999).

(16) For the Greek case, see Alivizatos, 1993: 70. For the Irish case, see Gallagher, 1999: 179; Sinnott, 1999: 116–117.

(17) It should however be mentioned here that the decline in the ability of parliaments to control the executive is a common characteristic of most EC/EU states since 1950s (see Raunio and Hix, 2001).

(18) It must also be noted here that the prime ministers in both systems are both head of their governments and their parties.

(19) It is also in her/his responsibilities to appoint the Attorney-General who, in the Irish case, also has a seat in the cabinet (Elgie, 1999: 238).

(20) This view is also held by Peter Cassells (personal interview, 27 June 2002). Peter Cassells is Chairman of Forfás (National Policy and Advisory Board for Enterprise, Trade, Science, Technology and Innovation), Executive Chairperson of the National Centre for Partnership and Performance, and former General Secretary of the ICTU (1987–99). He was personally involved in all of the negotiations for partnership agreements since 1987.

(21) Mavrogordatos (1988, 1993) and Lavdas (1997) adopt different (p.57) approaches in the definition of the Greek interest intermediation system. Mavrogordatos argues that the Greek system is a characteristic case of ‘state corporatism’. Lavdas, adopting a more qualified approach, argues that although state corporatist elements have historically been present at various sectoral levels of the economy, the institutional character of the Greek interest intermediation system as a whole is closer to what could be termed ‘disjointed corporatism’. For a literature review on this issue, see Featherstone, 2008.

(22) For a study of socio-political change in modern Ireland through a dependency theoretical prism, see Jacobsen, 1994.

(23) It is interesting that, when studying the ‘collaborative production’ in Ireland, many scholars distinguish between ‘unionised’ and ‘non-unionised workplaces’ (see, for instance, Roche and Geary, 2000). For the issue of flexibility in the Irish labour market, see Gunnigle and Brosnan, 2001. Moreover, for the effect and practices of US firms in the Irish workplace, see: Gunnigle et al., 1997; Geary, 1999; Gunnigle and McGuire, 2001. Gunnigle and McGuire (ibid: 59) have two very interesting extracts from interviews conducted with two vice presidents of US multinationals: ‘Any country that requires union recognition is immediately stricken off our list of possible locations’, and ‘We don't deal with unions. We don't have a union in the US. It does not fit with our culture’.

(24) For the case of Greece, see Tsoukalas, 1993; for the case of Ireland, see Tovey, 2001.

(25) In this context Tsoukalas (1993: 334) notes of the Greek case: ‘… before the issue of the “degree” of State autonomy can be raised, one should investigate to what extent the development of social and economic forces, and the building of State machinery are processes “external” to each other’. For the issue of ‘state autonomy’, see the contributions in Evans et al., 1985, and for a Marxist critique see Cammack's (1989) review article.

(26) See also the interesting discussion on the emergence and stabilisation of Irish democracy in Kissane, 1995. Kissane argues that in order to understand the emergence of the modern Irish polity, traditional postcolonial explanatory frameworks should be combined with modernisation approaches.

(27) For an analysis of this culture in the Greek case, see Diamandouros, 1994.

(28) As many Irish grandparents keep saying.

(29) The most common Greek version.

(30) A caveat should be inserted here. I do not mean to make a value judgement about the aforementioned underdog culture, nor do I subscribe to (simplistic) analyses which equate ‘tradition’ with ‘backwardness’. Indeed, part of the discourse of the ‘modernising camps’ in both countries has often been based on a simplistic ‘binary logic’ in which ‘[t]radition, suitably packaged, homogenised and essentialised, becomes a mere caricature’ which is reconstructed and scapegoated as the ‘enemy of progress’ (Doak 1998: 26). What I do argue is that the changed material and psychological landscape led to the problematisation of historically (p.58) well-rooted notions of dependency and insecurity; and furthermore that this changed landscape led to a reflexive and self-confident attitude about the capacity of the two countries to decide for and formulate their own future, and therefore take responsibility for it.

(31) Irish neutrality has traditionally been more about not being allied to Britain than about unilateralism per se. In the case of the Nice referendum, however, the concept of neutrality moved beyond an ‘instrumental definition’, and acquired a central position in the Irish public discourse ‘as a synonym for national identity and core political value’ (Gillespie, 2002). The same also happened with the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. For the issue of Irish neutrality, see, among others, FitzGerald, 1998.

(32) For the role of church in Greece, see Stavrakakis, 2002; Konidaris, 2003; Ware, 1983; and in Ireland, see Inglis, 1998; Kissane, 2003.

(33) In particular, according to the 1991 census, the religious composition in the Republic was Roman Catholic: 91.6%; Church of Ireland (Anglican): 2.5%; Presbyterians: 0.4%; other, or no information or specific religious beliefs: 5.6%. The respective composition in Greece is: Greek Orthodox: 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%.

(34) Population attitudes towards religion, either as an esoteric belief or as a part of a national identity, should not be equated with population attitudes towards the church as an institution. This becomes clearer when one studies the attitudes of the population not towards religion but towards the church, or when the focus of the analysis is on state-church relations.

(35) For convenience, in the case of Ireland, the term ‘church’ is used to refer to the Catholic church. The ‘church of Ireland’ is the official name for the Anglican Church.

(36) Even though the official Orthodox church took a conservative stance towards the Greek fight of independence in the nineteenth century.

(37) The ‘national church’ is a common characteristic of the Christian Orthodox religion. Thus, national Orthodox churches were founded by Bulgarians (1872), Serbians (1879), Romanians (1885), Finish and Estonians (1923), Polish (1924), Albanians (1937), and Czechs and Slovaks (1998).

(38) The term was coined by Kevin Gardiner (1994) in a Morgan Stanley Euro-letter in 1994.

(39) This contrast between the two surveys of The Economist, i.e. from the ‘poorest of the rich’ (1988) to the ‘Europe's shining light’ (1997), is well cited in the literature about Ireland. See for instance Murphy, 1999 and Walsh, 2000.

(40) The A. T. Kearney/Foreign Policy ‘Globalisation Index’ (GI) was used for the first time in 2001. The GI does not include all the countries of the world. However, the 62 countries ranked, account approximately for 95% of the world's GDP and 84% of the world's population (see, Foreign Policy, 2004: 58). In terms of research methodology the GI uses 14 variables (p.59) grouped in four baskets, in order to measure the degree of openness/globalisation. These are as follows: (a) economic integration: trade, FDI, portfolio capital flows, investment income; (b) personal income: international travel and tourism, international telephone traffic, remittances and personal transfers; (c) technological connectivity: Internet users, Internet hosts, secure servers; (d) political engagement: memberships in international organisations, personnel and financial contributions to UN Security Council missions, international treaties ratified, governmental transfers (ibid.). Notwithstanding its potential flaws, the variety of variables used in the GI makes it a good general indicator of state openness and global engagement. For criticisms of the GI, see Kudrle, 2004 and Lockwood, 2004. Another index with a growing visibility in the globalisation literature is that of the Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR) of the University of Warwick (at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/csgr/index). In this index, Ireland was the most globalised country in economic terms (economic ranking), and the second most globalised country in economic, social and political terms (overall marking), throughout the period 1998–2001 (see Lockwood and Redoano, 2005).

(41) Greece joined the eurozone two years later (1 January 2001).

(42) Giddens (1990: 38, 1991, 1995) argues that in late-modern societies ‘social practices are constantly examined in the light of incoming information about those very practices, thus constitutively altering their character’.

(43) For the concept of ‘collective intentionality’, see Searle, 1995: 24–26. In particular Searle argues: ‘The crucial element in collective intentionality is a sense of doing (wanting, believing, etc.) something together, and the individual intentionality that each person has is derived from the collective intentionality that they share’ (ibid.: 24–25).

(44) For this point, see the contributions in Goetz and Hix, 2001. In their introduction the editors note: ‘In the main theories of integration, domestic politics is a central explanatory factor of the integration process … Much less effort has gone into thinking about the reverse effect: European integration as an explanatory factor in domestic political continuity or change’ (2001a: 1).

(45) In this context Professor Tsoukalis argues that ‘there is no doubt that EU membership is perceived by many Greeks as a means of strengthening their national security’ (2001: 125). For a discussion of the effect of Euro-peanisation in Greece, see Ioakimidis, 1996, 2001; Featherstone, 1998, 1998a, 2005; Lavdas, 1997; Kazakos, 1999, 2004; Mitsos and Mossialos, 2000: parts III and IV; and Pagoulatos, 2001, 2003. More general studies on the Greece-EU relationship include: Kazakos and Ioakimidis, 1994; Dimitrakopoulos and Passas, 2003; Featherstone, 2005.

(46) The nineteenth-century famine in Ireland has been one of the most formative experiences in the development of the modern Irish identity. The failure of the potato crop for successive years, in a population almost (p.60) dependent for its diet on the potato, led to a major famine which lasted from 1845 to 1851. According to estimations, in a total population of 6 to 8 million, 1 million people died of starvation and 1.5 million emigrated abroad, mainly to Britain and the USA. The Irish considered Britain as partly responsible for the famine (Collins and Cradden, 2001: 2–3; Finnegan and McCarron, 2000: 31–41).

(47) For the poor historical record regarding Ireland's economic performance before the 1990s, see Barry, 1999, 2003.

(48) See O'Connor, 2001. For the relationship between FDIs and the economic boom, see Walsh, 2000: 118–120. For the argument that the economic boom was merely due to a huge flow of US investments, see Allen, 2000: 21–29.

(49) For the reflexive rearticulation of Irish identity, see also Tonra, 2000. Tonra links changes in Irish foreign policy to changing conceptions of Irish identity.

(50) See for instance, IMF, 1999.

(51) See, among others, Petrakos and Totev, 2000; Wallden, 2000; Kamaras, 2001.

(52) In the same context Diamandouros (2001: 72) notes: ‘Greek society has until very recently thought of itself as a country of emigrants. It is a society and a country whose literature, whose poetry, whose folklore resonates with the notion of nostalgia, of emigration, of the desire to return. Objectively speaking, all of these things are, in fact, things of the past’.

(53) Some analysts put the turning point at 1994. See Murphy, 1999.

(54) Kazakos (1992a) argues that elements of the new paradigm were already in place after the second half of the 1980s. On the same issue, Ioakimidis (1996: 41) notes: ‘Only in the years 1992–93, under the ND government, did privatisation (apokratikopiisi) policy appear to be pursued as a clear political preference’.

(55) For these coalition governments, see Pridham and Verney, 1991. The new ND government was based on a coalition of ND with an independently elected MP.

(56) The period after the collapse of the colonels' regime in Greece and up to the PASOK's rise to power, that is 1974–81, is characterised by an intensive and remarkably successful democratisation and modernisation process. Nevertheless this process had also its ‘darker side’, the main characteristics of which were the ‘anticommunist’ and socially exclusive state strategies, which had created deep cleavages in the Greek political scene (Diamandouros, 1997). It was these ideological cleavages and hatreds that the coalition governments of 1989/90 put at rest.

(57) Pappas (2001) argues that the reason for the decline of the polarisation in Greek politics is to be found in the ‘new party system’ which emerged after the 1981 elections.

(58) Progressive Democrats ‘had initially resulted from a division within Fianna Fáil over its policies in relation to Northern Ireland, but quickly (p.61) won support from elements in both major parties [Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael] on the basis of its essentially conservative economic policies and liberal stance on “moral” issues’ (Mair, 1999: 141).

(59) Both 1997 and 2002 elections led to a coalition government between Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats. Marsh and O'Malley (1999: 425) referring to the 1997 elections note: ‘In fact, Fianna Fáil lost one seat to the Labour party. It did not manage to convince the electorate that there would be advantage in making government less dependent on independents for parliamentary majority’. This trend was enhanced in the 2002 elections, one characteristic of which was the considerable increase in the power of small parties (Green Party and Sinn Fein). Finally, the 2007 elections led to a coalition government between Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and the Progressive Democrats (which lost most of its electoral power). (p.62)