Crisis and Change: The Contested Politics of Constructing Crises

Clarke, John (2023). Crisis and Change: The Contested Politics of Constructing Crises. In: Ballard, Richard and Barnett, Clive eds. The Routledge Handbook of Social Change. Oxon, UK and New York, U.S.A.: Routledge, pp. 117–128.



This chapter explores the entangled relationship of crises and change. It examines some of the divergent understandings of how crises bring about social change (or not). It then considers the question of how crises are socially defined or constructed and the political implications of such definitions. The ‘migrant crisis’ supposedly experienced by countries in the global North provides one focus for exploring definitional politics and their consequences. The chapter concludes with the challenge of making sense of a world of ‘proliferating crises’, suggesting that crises do not merely accumulate but interact with unpredictable effects.

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