Colin Crouch

"Institutions remain intact, but power moves to the elites"


Colin Crouch, a political scientist and sociologist, raised the interest in the audience that filled the Auditorium of the Palau Macaya. Conceptualizer of the term post-democracy, a few years ago that he predicted someof the  phenomens that we are currently experiencing as Trump, Brexit or the rise of xenophobic and populist parties. What, then, is post-democracy? According to Crouch, it is a system in which artificial competition is created that substitutes institutional democracy. The center of the decisions, then, is not in the traditional institutions, even if they remain intact, they move to economic and corporate elites. This phenomenon is partly offset by civil society movements that have a non-negligible political influence, such as the feminist movement, the environmental movement or the various ultra-right movements.

In this power gear, the neoliberal system, as the predominant economic system, plays a key role. No doubt neoliberalism has been one of the catalysts of globalization, a positive system  on the one hand, but on the other, has allowed a great deregulation  that has caused clashes between countries and within the same countries. It is in this context that there is a rise in xenophobic and populist movements.

The rise of the conservative movement has ended up opposing neoliberalism, which defends large, open and universal markets and is not interested in marking borders. The most conservative and xenophobic movements, on the other hand, are frontally opposed. This opposition provokes some tensions in the conservative neoliberal sector, which often falls into contradictions. But the great victims of the current game board are the left, the most absent in power.

For Crouch, the current situation demands institutions that go beyond the nation state. Institutions that need legitimacy and democracy to be effective, but in addition, it is necessary for citizens to feel identified with them.


Colin Crouch started as a professor of sociology at the London School of Economics. He also taught at the University of Bath and Oxford University. He was Professor of Sociology and chaired the Political Science Department at the European Institute of the University of Florence from 1995 to 2004. From 2005 to 2011 he was Professor of Governance and Public Management at Warwick Business School and in 2005 he was elected to the British Academy .

He developed the post-democracy concept for the first time in his book "Postdemocracy." This concept refers to the current political situation where the ideal of democracy is questioned before the effects of capitalism and globalization and the inability of classical political institutions to govern current societies.