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Symposium: Critical Explorations of Crisis: Politics, Precariousness, and Potentialities

October 21-22, 2019, Pufendorf IAS Lund University

This symposium critically explores ’CRISIS’. Crisis seemingly weaves our world together with alarming reports on climate change, financial collapse, people’s movement and displacement, armed conflicts, and so on. Claims to crisis may involve tangible displays of desperate refugees, civilian casualties or persisting, if not, permanent poverty. Crises narratives are even exacerbated by populist ideology. At the same time, crisis refers to social forces that can disrupt life and frame realities in ways, which go beyond prevalent discursive narratives.

Crisis claims in regard to any of these issues often have important reciprocal effects for each of the other areas. Crisis serves to justify rapid shifts in the socio-political and economic landscapes at both the national and international level, laying bare power, and other dynamics underlying the responses to these phenomena. At the same time, crisis can also provide a turning point and an opportunity for transformational change of systems and lifeworlds. In this sense, the critical study of crisis relates to abstract notions such as temporality, modality, and intensity and how these are intimately intertwined with the ways in which a crisis takes shape, is understood, and experienced.

The symposium opens up interdisciplinary and multifaceted dialogues in regard to the conceptualization of crisis in regards to politics, precariousness, and potentialities. We ask, how, on what basis, by whom and in what context crisis is proclaimed. Moreover, what does crisis mean for social justices, security, and rights in particular contexts for various groups due to gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity, class, and body-ableness? Last, but not least, to what extent does crisis language open up avenues for agency, counter-politics, and various moral/ethical calls for change?


Venue: Pufendorf IAS, Lecture hall (Biskopsgatan 3, Lund)

Download the symposium programme 


List of Speakers:

Bart Bes is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Political Science, Lund University, Sweden

Emily Boyd is Professor in Sustainability Studies and Director of the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, Sweden.

Rola El-Husseini is an associate professor in sociology with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University, Sweden.

Catia Gregoratti is senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science at Lund University, Sweden

Janet Roitman is Professor of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College, USA

Gabriella Sanchez is a Research Fellow, Migration Policy Institute, University of Oxford, UK

Göran Tomson is a Professor of International Health Systems Research at Karolinska Institutet, Councelor UN Agenda 2030 Presidents Office KI and co founder ReAct network to contain ABR. He is a co-founder and a Senior Advisor at the Swedish Institute for Global Health Transformation (SIGHT) at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden. 

Eleni Tsingou is Professor with special responsibilities at the Department of Organisation of the Copenhagen Business School.

Henrik Vigh is Professor at the Institute for Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Roger Zetter is is Emeritus Professor of Refugee Studies, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, UK

Ekatherina Zhukova is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Communication, University of Copenhagen, Denmark


Crisis Theme Members:

Helle Rydstrom, Professor (Coordinator of the Crisis Theme)

Department of Gender Studies, Lund University

Fredrik N.G. Andersson, Associate Professor

School of Economics and Management, Lund University

Annika Bergman Rosamond, Associate Professor

Department of Political Sciences, Lund University

Vanja Berggren, Associate Professor

Karolinska Institute

Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen, Professor

Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Mo Hamza, Professor

Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety, Lund University

Jeff Hearn, Professor

Gender Studies, Örebro University; and Management and Organization, Hanken School of Economics, Finland

Catarina Kinnvall, Professor

Department of Political Science, Lund University

Vasna Ramasar, Assistant Professor

Human Ecology Division and Center for Sustainability Studies, Lund University


Register here


For enquiries contact: Vasna Ramasar at vasna [dot] ramasar [at] hek [dot] lu [dot] se (vasna[dot]ramasar[at]hek[dot]lu[dot]se)or Maria Tonini at maria [dot] tonini [at] genus [dot] lu [dot] se (maria[dot]tonini[at]genus[dot]lu[dot]se)


Pufendorf IAS, Lecture hall (Biskopsgatan 3, Lund)

About the Theme CRISIS

The CRISIS Theme revolves around critical explorations of crisis. The Theme’s work focuses on the alarming reports about crises such as hurricanes and floods; political instability and unpredictability; soaring civilian casualties due to armed conflict; scenes of desperate refugees and migrants; persisting poverty; and outbreaks of aggressive diseases. Such discourses, images and practices weave our world together and this trend is sustained by global media narratives reporting on crisis across the world. Yet, crises also refer to the pressing realities that those affected by experience, many of which cause societal rupture and destruction. A crisis, materialized or perceived, provides for rapid shifts in the socio-political and economic landscapes of the world and brings to the surface the inherently gendered dimensions of any given crisis. Gender, masculinity, power, and socioeconomic privileges are critical factors to take into account when studying crisis, not only to understand the ramifications of a crisis, but also to unfold definitions of a crisis and attempts of resolving it. 


The Crisis Theme is a response to urgent calls for political action and ethical calls for more inclusive and efficient models for crisis prevention, mitigation and restoration, all indicate the importance of critically exploring crisis from an interdisciplinary perspective. The Theme undertakes interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary examinations of the conceptualization of crisis, the reciprocity between various types of crises, and the gender dynamics by which a crisis is configured. 


Theme members