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Colin Crouch

ISBN: 978-0-745-63315-2 August 2004 Polity 144 Pages



Post-Democracy is a polemical work that goes beyond current complaints about the failings of our democracy and explores the deeper social and economic forces that account for the current malaise.

Colin Crouch argues that the decline of those social classes which had made possible an active and critical mass politics has combined with the rise of global capitalism to produce a self-referential political class more concerned with forging links with wealthy business interests than with pursuing political programmes which meet the concerns of ordinary people. He shows how, in some respects, politics at the dawn of the twenty-first century returns us to a world familiar well before the start of the twentieth, when politics was a game played among elites. However, Crouch maintains that the experience of the twentieth century remains salient and it reminds us of possibilities for the revival of politics.

This engaging book will prove challenging to all those who claim that advanced societies have reached a virtual best of all possible democratic worlds, and will be compelling reading for anyone interested in the shape of twenty-first-century politics.


1. Why Post-Democracy?.

2. The Global Firm: The Key Institution of the Post-Democratic World.

3. Social Class in Post-Democracy.

4. The Political Party under Post-Democracy.

5. Post-Democracy and the Commercialization of Citizenship.

6. Conclusions: Where Do We Go From Here?.



"A brilliant short text."
The Guardian

"A powerful plea for a politics of the left in the twenty-first century. He is no advocate of the Third Way. For him the stark alternative is liberal democracy or egalitarian democracy, and he clearly opts for the latter. Those who disagree with his analysis or his conclusions will have to make their case, and will no doubt do so. Crouch’s book is sure to give rise to lively debate.’
Ralf Dahrendorf

"Colin Crouch has the great gift of bringing theory down to accessible earth. Social capital theory is applied to the policies needed for civil renewal. This thoughtful book is a culmination of all that we have been expecting-and more-from his Fabian pamphlets and Political Quarterly articles on the dilemmas of democracy in troubled times."
Professor Bernard Crick

  • presents an original and polemical argument about the direction politics is taking in the 21st century, which is highly relevant to current debates centring around Tony Blair and New Labour.

  • written by a leading figure in the social and political sciences, whose work has previously attracted media attention

  • written for a wide readership and aims to reach out beyond an individual national audience.

  • links currently fashionable policies ofr privatization and contracting out of public services to the rise of the new political class.

  • justifies new radical protest movements, such as non-violent components of the anti-globalisation campaign.