Inspired by recent work of Batanin and Berger on the homotopy theory of operads, a general monad-theoretic context for speaking about structures within structures is presented, and the problem of constructing the universal ambient structure containing the prescribed internal structure is studied. Following the work of Lack, these universal objects must be constructed from simplicial objects arising from our monad-theoretic framework, as certain 2-categorical colimits called codescent objects. We isolate the extra structure present on these simplicial objects which enable their codescent objects to be computed. These are the crossed internal categories of the title, and generalise the crossed simplicial groups of Loday and Fiedorowicz. The most general results of this article are concerned with how to compute such codescent objects in 2-categories of internal categories, and on isolating conditions on the monad-theoretic situation which enable these results to apply. Combined with earlier work of the author in which operads are seen as polynomial 2-monads, our results are then applied to the theory of non-symmetric, symmetric and braided operads. In particular, the well-known construction of a PROP from an operad is recovered, as an illustration of our techniques.
Keywords: internal algebras, codescent objects, crossed internal categories
2010 MSC: 18A05; 18D20; 18D50; 55P48
Theory and Applications of Categories, Vol. 30, 2015, No. 50, pp 1713-1792.