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Theorising the Age of Permanent Crisis: Policy, Politics and Polity in the EU

European Politics
European Union
Political Cultures
EU9
Jonathan Zeitlin
University of Amsterdam
Nathalie Brack
Université Libre de Bruxelles

Thursday 15:00 - 16:30 (18/05/2023)


Abstract

Speakers: Anna Kyriazi, Kate Alexander Shaw, Joe Ganderson It is generally considered that the European Union has been through a string of crises since 2010, from the Euro area crisis through the refugee crisis, Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and now the conflict in Ukraine. Around these episodic problems an ongoing crisis concerning uneven employment, health and other social outcomes also continues in the background, while the climate crisis threatens to override all the others in its ultimate seriousness. Other potential crises, meanwhile, jostle for attention: an energy crisis; a related cost of living crisis; a rule-of-law crisis in certain member states. How are we to theoretically grasp this proliferation of crises, and what conceptual tools are available for doing so? What is the difference between a policy problem and a policy crisis, and what are the political implications of making that distinction? This paper reviews the existing literature, both materialist and constructivist, on the notion of crisis, and asks whether a synthesis is possible. It considers a set of case-study vignettes on the (un)successful construction of certain variably disputed EU crisis episodes, and explores how discursive contests around the construction of crisis may determine the space for subsequent crisis politics, policymaking and polity building in the EU.