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Do We Live In a Post Democratic Age?

On May 6th the British public will vote in an election widely hailed as the most significant one for decades. Yet public confidence in the political class is at an all time low and there is a pervasive sense amongst the electorate that whoever gains power British politics is unlikely to change. This pod cast explores the historical and economic changes which have brought about this state of affairs and asks an important question about the state of contemporary British politics: do we live in a post democratic age?

In this podcast Professor Crouch talks about his thesis of post-democracy. He argues that western liberal democracies are moving into a stage of post-democracy where the formal institutions of democracy continue to exist but the pervasive culture of participation and engagement which sustained an active democracy is increasingly exhausted. The decline of manufacturing and the traditional working class, as well as the advance of economic globalization, has hollowed out processes of democratic engagement to produce an isolated, disconnected and self-referential political class cut off from the public they claim to represent.

We are left with a politics dominated by elites where influential business interests are the only group within society able to make their voice heard. Their pervasive, though often unseen, lobbying activity shapes the priorities of government while engagement with the wider public is increasingly shaped by ‘spin doctors’ and other advertising professionals. Professor Crouch suggests these are tendencies which suggest that democracy is more a legacy of the past than part of our future.

He is interviewed here by Mark Carrigan about issues related to his recent book Post Democracy.

Professor Colin Crouch is a Governance and Public Management Fellow at Warwick Business School. Previously Professor of Comparative Social Institutions at the European University Institute, in Florence. He has also held positions at LSE and Oxford. His research encompasses economics, sociology, structural change in European societies and public service reform.

Further Reading




The Triumph of the Political Class
Peter Oborne

The Rise of Political Lying
Peter Oborne

Colin Crouch

Give the Young Someone To Vote For
Samuel Palin

The Beautiful Ghost of Big Government
Ian Jack

General Election: Look beyond the spin to find candidates with character
Benedict Brogan 

What Will Follow the Demise of Privatised
Colin Crouch

Coping with Post Democracy
Colin Crouch
(Fabian Pamphlet)

Thinking Aloud links to Warwick library where books are available and Amazon where they are not