Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Mause I 73f
Post-Democracy/Crouch: The discussion about Post-Democracy results from the discussion about Neoliberalism.
Crouch Thesis: all Western democracies are in the process of post-democratization. Characteristics of Post-Democracy:
1) The basic democratic institutions and procedures are losing influence. (1)
2) Party politics is becoming increasingly meaningless. Content is being replaced by personalised election campaign strategies. The mediating function of the parties would increasingly be transferred to opinion research institutes.
The behaviour of the "political class" is similar to that of companies towards their customers.
3) Political content is determined by these "companies". They arise from the interaction of political and economic actors. They are no longer primarily public welfare oriented, but profit-oriented. (2)
4) Citizens are deprived of power, if not de jure, then de facto.
As a result of this development, policy is being made behind closed doors. (3)

1.C. Crouch, 2008. Postdemokratie. Frankfurt a. M. 2008, p. 10ff
2. Ibid. p. 63-69
3. Ibid. p. 10.

Brocker I 946
Post-Democracy/Crouch/Heidbrink: Crouch adopts the term - without mentioning the sources - among others from Jacques Rancière (2002)(1), who wrote of the disappearance of politics through legalization - and Sheldon S. Wolin (2001)(2), who denounced the political consumerism and latent totalitarianism of late-capitalist sham democracies.
Heidbrink: Post-democracy also ties in with the concept of "subpolitics" (U. Beck, 1993); related concepts are neo-democracy and reflexive democracy, in which new actors, alliances, and governance regimes have a say in world politics.
Crouch Thesis: "Paradoxical situation": More and more nation states are based on democratic institutions and procedures, while at the same time the capacity of democratic politics to act diminishes and dissatisfaction with it grows.(3) >Democracy/Crouch.
Brocker I 947
Def Post-Democracy/Crouch: refers to a community in which elections are still held, elections that even lead to governments having to say goodbye, but in which competing teams of professional PR experts control the public debate during the election campaigns to such an extent that it degenerates into a pure spectacle in which one discusses only a series of problems previously selected by the experts.
The majority of the citizens play a passive, silent, even apathetic role, they only react to the signals given to them. In the shadow of this political staging, real politics are made behind closed doors: by elected governments and elites, who above all represent the interests of the economy.(4)
Problem: this leads to a decline of egalitarian politics and welfare corporatism.
Brocker I 949
Causes of the Phenomenon/Crouch: among others the disintegration of the social classes, in particular the decline of the working class and the dwindling importance of the trade unions. >Political Parties/Crouch.
Other causes: privatization of state tasks and economization of political processes. >Public Private Partnership/Crouch.
VsCrouch: see StreckVsCrouch: >Government Policy/Crouch.
Brocker I 956
HeidbrinkVsCrouch: Crouch goes far beyond the goal of an adequate social theory. Thus he ignores the emergence of alternative political styles and social movements that are not about dismantling, but about transforming democratic procedures and conditions. This is particularly evident in the unclear role of civil society, which is supposed to contribute to a revitalization of democracy through more civic participation, while at the same time being attested to act self-interested and without political ethos.
Crouch cannot imagine that citizens, as consumers of political styles, are able to develop a reflexive attitude to their own life practice and, despite material interests, to engage in sustainable economic and environmental policy, just as the ecological transformation of democracy as a whole is not further addressed.
Brocker I 957
HeidbrinkVsCrouch: his concept of "post-democracy" lacks a plausible normative foundation. Crouch thinks and argues in templates and contrasts of left-wing welfare politics and right-wing market politics that obstruct the view of new forms of welfare production beyond the triad of state, market and civil society.


1. Jacques Rancière, Das Unvernehmen. Politik und Philosophie, Frankfurt/M. 2002.
2. .Sheldon S. Wolin, Tocqueville between Two Worlds. The Making of a Political and Theoretical Life, Princeton/Oxford 2001.
3. Colin Crouch, Postdemocrazia, Rom/Bari 2003 (engl.: Oxford 2004). Dt.: Colin Crouch, Postdemokratie, Frankfurt/M. 2008, p. 7
4. Ibid. p. 10

Ludger Heidbrink, „Colin Crouch, Postdemokratie“, in: Manfred Brocker (ed.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

PolCrouch I
Colin Crouch
Henry Farrell
Breaking the path of institutional development? Alternatives to the new determinism 2004

PolCrouch II
Colin Crouch
Post-democracy London 2004

Mause I
Karsten Mause
Christian Müller
Klaus Schubert,
Politik und Wirtschaft: Ein integratives Kompendium Wiesbaden 2018

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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