CfA: "Time of Crisis/Temps de crise(s)"

 The journal Consecutio rerum ( selects original contributions for the issue n. 12 (2022/1), “Temps de crise(s)”. The term “crisis” is increasingly invoked to define very different phenomena. Contemporary times are characterized by generalized and permanent crises which seemingly do not spare any field. On the background of the financial and economic crisis of 2008 and of its lasting deleterious consequences, at least two different crises have recently come to the forefront of public debate: populations and States are now facing the health crisis triggered by the pandemic and the signs of an unprecedented climate crisis, i.e. extraordinary natural events such as megafires, torrential rains, abnormally high temperatures, etc.; moreover, contemporary societies witness political crises (which affect both democratic representation and the legitimacy of political decisions) as well as an individual and collective malaise, reflected in identity crises, or in the reality of a society subject to unbridgeable social fractures.

Talking about crisis therefore implies talking about crises, so that it is possible to ask oneself whether to use the plural or to add an adjective that can qualify the expression itself. The term ‘crisis’ thus appears as polysemic, ambivalent and equivocal, being sometimes an epistemological and gnoseological notion, sometimes a historiographical category, sometimes a polemical concept. As it has been pointed out on several occasions and from different points of view, this notion is distinguished by the close link it weaves with Modernity. Even though premodern eras had obviously witnessed many events of crisis, the Modern Age has developed a critical self-awareness that is more attentive to crises and to their meaning, in that they are symptoms of the flaws of the modern promises of well-being and freedom. From this point of view, the crisis can be considered as a constitutive element of Modernity.

In this perspective, the issue of the journal Consecutio rerum aims to discuss the relevance of the concept of crisis today and to put its different uses into perspective. In the view of the etymology of the Greek term krisis, it will look back at the origins of this notion, which lies at the crossroads of medical science and political-legal science: indeed, it serves to identify both a sudden change in the evolution of an illness and the judgment that must ensure the justice of the city. Conceived of as a rupture of an established order, is the crisis an extraordinary and unpredictable event, or is it cyclical and structural? Insofar as it produces a new balance, does it have a positive value? Or rather, because of the instability and conflict it produces, does crisis have only a negative value? If it can be linked to the themes of emergence, conflict and emancipation, is it synonymous with progress or does it lead to regression? Is it possible to get out of the crisis or is it a permanent feature of the art of governing? Finally, can we consider the concept of crisis as a category that is still analytically fruitful or has it lost its conceptual rigour – both descriptive and normative, explanatory and interpretative – because of the abusive use that has been made of it?

Several lines of analysis are expected in this issue. Suggested streams may be the following:
1) Adopting an approach based on the history of ideas and the history of concepts, some contributions will be devoted to explore the revival of the notion of crisis from the Enlightenment and onwards, particularly in France and Germany, in order to highlight the shift undergone by the word “crisis” and to emphasise the tension between revolution and catastrophe or between revolution and critique.
2) Another focus will be on the conception of crisis developed by Marx and Marxist-oriented theorists. It will focus on the role that crises play within the capitalist system and on the political effects of crises on institutions, their relation to the existence of a ruling class and the structure of the State.
3) Finally, contributions may focus on the use of the notion of crisis in the philosophy of history, its place in the social sciences and its function in the theory of the State.
On the basis of these and other lines of thought, this issue aims to bring together different perspectives of political philosophy in order to assess the actuality of the notion of crisis and to shed light on its philosophical stakes.
Abstracts of proposed contributions, in Italian, French or English, should be sent in editable format to the following e-mail address: by 15 October 2021. They should not exceed 6000 characters (including spaces). They must be accompanied by a bibliography. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be given by 15 November 2021. Full papers must be submitted by 31 March 2022. They should be between 40,000 and 45,000 characters long (including spaces). Anonymised texts will be evaluated according to the double-blind procedure.