Ivor Crewe

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Sir Ivor Crewe at the 2014 Eights Week, on the River Thames in Oxford.
The Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall at the University of Essex, completed in 2006.

Sir Ivor Martin Crewe, FAcSS (born 15 December 1945) is the Master of University College, Oxford and President Elect of the Academy of Social Sciences. He was previously Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex and also a Professor in the Department of Government at Essex.

Crewe was educated at Manchester Grammar School and then went to Exeter College, Oxford, where he gained a first-class BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics in 1966. He was appointed a Lecturer in Politics at Lancaster University at the age of 21, before returning to Oxford in 1969 for two years as a Junior Research Fellow, and moving to a Lectureship at the Department of Government at the University of Essex in 1971.

At Essex, Crewe was director of the ESRC Data Archive from 1974 to 1982, co-director of the British Election Study from 1973 to 1981. With Dr David Rose, he established the British Household Panel Study and founded the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Essex in 1990.[citation needed] From 1977 to 1982, Crewe was editor of the British Journal of Political Science and from 1984 to 1992 he was a co-editor.[citation needed]

Crewe undertook extensive research from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s in elections and voting behaviour, and published his results in Decade of Dealignment (1983, with Bo Sarlvik) and numerous articles, including the influential 'Partisan Dealignment in Britain 1964–74', British Journal of Political Science, 7(2), pp. 129–90 (with Bo Sarlvik and James Alt), which argued that voters' identification with the Conservative and Labour was steadily weakening as a result of the decline in class loyalty and in the connections voters made between class interests and party policies. He was a frequent commentator on UK elections for television and the press. He argued that the Labour party was destined for electoral defeat as the traditional working class contracted unless it both appealed to a wider social constituency embracing other classes and revised its assumptions about the policies that would appeal to a majority of voters. He regarded the electoral success of New Labour in the 1997 and 2001 general elections as a vindication of his electoral analysis.

Crewe is generally credited with introducing the concepts of partisan dealignment, class dealignment and negative partisanship in the study of voting behaviour.[citation needed]

In 1995 he published (with Anthony King) a study of the SDP, party formed by a breakaway from the Labour Party, which represented to him a symptom of the crumbling of the old foundations of Britain's two-party system.[citation needed]

From 1995 to 1 September 2007, Crewe was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex and is a former Chair of the 1994 Group and President of Universities UK.[citation needed] As President of UUK from 2003 to 2005, he mobilised university Vice-Chancellors in favour of the Government's proposal to introduce tuition fees.

Completed in 2006 by Patel Taylor, the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall at the university was named after him.[1] The building was nominated for a Civic Trust Award in 2008.[2]

Crewe was appointed Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honours List 2006.[3] In July 2008, Sir Ivor Crewe succeeded Lord Butler of Brockwell as Master of University College, Oxford. In 2013 Crewe and King published The Blunders of our Governments, a study of major failures of public policy in modern Britain. Peter Preston's review in The Guardian commented "It should be a deeply distressing account of blunders past, present and pending from two of our most brilliant political analysts, but in fact you have to smile gallantly through many of the disasters that throng 400 or more of these pages".[4]


  1. ^ "Shining light in Essex: Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall]". World Architecture News. 10 June 2008. 
  2. ^ "Lecture hall shortlisted for award" (Press release). Colchester, Essex: University of Essex. 10 March 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "University honours Vice-Chancellor". University of Essex Communications Office. 3 April 2007. Retrieved 29 February 2008. 
  4. ^ Preston, Peter (21 September 2013). "The Blunders of Our Governments by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe – review". The Guardian. 


  • Ivor Crewe, 'The Electorate: Partisan Dealignment Ten Years On (1984)', West European Politics, 6(4), pp. 183–215.
  • Ivor Crewe, 'Has the Electorate Become Thatcherite?', in Robert Skidelsky (ed.), Thatcherism (Chatto & Windus, 1988), pp. 25–49.
  • Ivor Crewe, 'Values: The Crusade that Failed' in Dennis Kavanagh and Anthony Seldon (eds.), The Thatcher Effect (Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 239–50.
  • Ivor Crewe, 'Margaret Thatcher: As the British Saw Her', The Public Perspective, Vol. 2(2), January/February 1991, pp. 15–17.
  • Ivor Crewe, 'The Thatcher legacy', in Anthony King (ed.), Britain at the Polls, 1992 (Chatham House, 1992), pp. 1–28.
  • Ivor Crewe, 'Electoral Behaviour' in Dennis Kavanagh and Anthony Seldon (eds.), The Major Effect (Macmillan, 1994), pp. 99–121.
  • Ivor Crewe and Anthony King, SDP: The Birth, Life and Death of the British Social Democratic Party (Oxford University Press, 1995).
  • Ivor Crewe and Anthony King, The Blunders of our Governments (Oneworld Publications, 2013).

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Lord Butler of Brockwell
Master of University College, Oxford
Succeeded by