Special Issue on Critical Explorations of Crisis: Politics, Precariousness, and Potentialities
Summary, in English
In a crisis-ridden world, it has become increasingly pertinent to understand the breadth and depth of ‘crisis’. On a daily basis, we are alarmed by crisis reports concerning hurricanes and floods; economic and financial uncertainties; political instability; armed conflict; desperate refugees and migrants; persisting poverty; and outbreaks of aggressive global diseases such as Covid-19. This special issue critically explores ‘crisis’ as a notion, phenomenon, materiality, reality, and experience. Crisis seems to weave our world together as mediatized transnational crisis narrative, sometimes even twisted in populist and apocalyptic ways. But crisis also refers to monumental forces of reality that shatter lifeworlds and communities and thus causes pain and societal rupture. Moreover, the intrinsically gendered nature of a crisis, while rarely articulated, impacts crisis interpretation as well as policies implemented to cope with its aftermath. Contrary to its historical usage, crisis might not be felt as a momentary incident (i.e. an emergency) for those involved neither as a promise of constructive change. Rather, a crisis could be experienced as a chronic state of prolonged harm in particular for those who were already in vulnerable positions prior to the crisis. In this special issue we argue for an interdisciplinary field of crisis studies. The various kinds of crisis with which contemporary societies struggle cannot be captured within the conceptual framework of a single discipline. ‘Siloed’ approaches not only obscure learning from one issue to the next, it tends to oversimplify the complex map and intersections of environmental, socio-economic, political, and medical factors that together define a given crisis. A broader and inter-disciplinary focus on crisis brings attention to the transformative character of a crisis and its connections to conditions of uncertainty in predictions, global-local dynamics, politics, precariousness, a ‘post-fact’ environment, the rising tide of populism, and the diversity in human suffering.