Do we live in a post democratic age?

In this podcast Colin 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.

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