The political agenda of eco-social policy seeks to create synergies between social justice and ecological goals, such as mitigating climate change. While the concept already has a strong theoretical foundation, and many concrete policy instruments have been proposed, support for eco-social policy is still insufficient to mobilize political action. We assume that one cause of this lack of action are the diverging interests and ideologies of different classes. In this article we apply a class perspective and conduct an empirical study to explore class support for and opposition to eco-social policy. We use data from a representative survey in Germany and identify nine class fractions, based on Bourdieu’s concept of social space. We first compare the carbon footprints of the classes, to determine their varying degrees of responsibility for supporting political efforts to mitigate climate change. We then compare class support for eco-social policy, considering the dimensions of redistribution, regulation and rights. We find that the economic upper class – a fraction equating closely with the ruling class – and the old working class oppose eco-social policy the most. The cultural upper class are the strongest proponents of eco-social policy. The lower-class fractions showed considerable concern about the costs associated with eco-social policy. We conclude that a stronger focus on the social justice element when designing and advocating for eco-social policy could lead to greater support from the lower classes and help to build eco-social welfare states that offer protection in times of increasing social and ecological risks.
Fritz, M., & Eversberg, D. (2023). Support for eco-social policy from a class perspective: Responsibilities, redistribution, regulation and rights. European Journal of Social Security, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/13882627231208929