A Relationship in Crisis
Edited by Luigi Burroni, Maarten Keune and Guglielmo Meardi
Over two days in May 2009 an unusual event took place in an ancient Venetian palace. Thirty researchers from nine different countries and three different generations intensively discussed as wide a theme as ‘the changing boundaries between economy and society in Europe’. The topics of the presentations were, at first sight, disparate: from housework to university organization, from regional economies to trade unions. In today’s ultraspecialised, technocratic academic environments experts on such topics tend to work in separate departments and to attend separate conferences, or at least separate streams within the conferences. Yet in Venice the discussions on the wide-ranging topics were particularly intense and open: regardless of different specialisms and origins, the participants understood each other perfectly; despite lively debate and differences of opinion, they really spoke the same language; and they felt affinities with the entire range of subjects. The occasion for this meeting was to celebrate Colin Crouch’s career in the year of his 65th birthday. The participants had in common the experience of having worked alongside him, whether as doctoral students, research assistants or as colleagues, between the 1970s and the 2000s, whether in the UK, in Florence or somewhere else in Europe. This shared experience is an initial explanation of the strong integration of the debates at the Venice meeting: the influence of common readings, of interlinked projects, or of shared doctoral supervision, all elements of Crouch’s teaching that proved to be pedagogically outstanding over a period of three decades. Yet the intellectual integration of...