From Democratic Socialist to social democrat: An examination of the political, economic and social factors influencing the political evolution and comeback of Michael Manley from 1980-1989

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Enrique A. Baloyra - Committee Chair


After presiding over a program of political, social and economic reform known as Democratic Socialism, in Jamaica from 1972-1980, Prime Minister Michael Manley, and leader of the ruling People's National Party (PNP), lost the October, 1980 general election. After the 1980 defeat, Manley led the PNP in a gradual process of political moderation that culminated in the return of Manley and the PNP to power after the February, 1989 general election.This purpose of this research was to answer two questions: (1) To what extent did Manley change his political beliefs regarding Democratic Socialism during the 1980s? and whether he (a) abandoned this model altogether; (b) found it impractical; or (c) found it inappropriate for Jamaica's stage of historical development during the 1970s; and (2) based on Jamaica's experience, what is the future viability of the democratic socialist model for small underdeveloped states with dependent capitalist growth strategies, especially those in the Third World and the English-speaking Caribbean, in particular? Manley reassessed his political beliefs after the failure of democratic socialism in Jamaica was reinforced by regional and global events which further discredited the socialist alternative, thereby proving that Manley was essentially a pragmatic and populist politician who adapted to the political realities of the 1980s in order to ensure his own political survival and that of the PNP.


Biography; History, Latin American; Political Science, General

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