FASS636 Crisis: Critical Approaches

Module description

This 4-hour session on crisis has four aims, pursued in consecutive 50-minute blocks, including time for discussion: (1) to introduce the concept of crisis and offer a some categories for reflecting on the aetiology, character, and dynamics of crisis; (2) to consider the problem of symptomatology, i.e., the challenge of deciphering the nature of crises from their symptoms; (3) to consider the pedagogy of crisis, i.e., the challenge of lesson drawing from crises in real time and subsequently; and (4) to review the place of crisis in the history of social thought, including in the recent past.


Reading list

Key readings:

Davies, H. (2011) The Financial Crisis: Who is to Blame? Cambridge: Polity.

Forgues, B. and Roux-Dufort, C. (1998) ‘Crises: events or processes?’ Paper presented at Hazards and Sustainability Conference, Durham, UK, 26-27 May.

Jackson, B.D. (1968) The theory of signs in St. Augustine’s De doctrina christiana. Revue des études augustiniennes, 15 (1-2): 9-49.

Jessop, B. (2013. ‘Recovered imaginaries, imagined recoveries’. In M. Benner, ed.,Beyond the Global Economic Crisis, 234-54. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Jessop, B. (2015) The symptomatology of crises: reading crises and learning from them. Some critical realist reflections’. Journal of Critical Realism, 14 (3), 238-71.

Koselleck, R. (2006) ‘Crisis’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 67 (2), 357-400.

O’Connor, J. (1987) The Meaning of Crisis: A Theoretical Introduction, Oxford: Blackwell

Roitman, J. (2014) Anti-Crisis, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Supplementary Reading (more to follow)

Harvey, D. (2010) The Enigma of Capital: and the Crises of Capitalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Habermas, J. (1978) Legitimation Crisis, London: Hutchinson.

Kenway, P. (1980) ‘Marx, Keynes and the Possibility of Crisis’, Cambridge Journal of Economics, 4 (1), 23-46.

Kindleberger, C.P. (2005) Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises, Chichester: Wiley.

Klein, N. (2008) The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism, London: Allen Lane.

Mirowski, P. (2013) Never Let a Serious Crisis go to Waste: how Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown, London: Verso.

Morin, E. (1993). ‘For a crisiology’, Organization and Environment, 7 (1): 5-22

Offe, C. (1984) Contradictions of the Welfare State. London: Hutchinson.

Polanyi, K. (1957) The Great Transformation: The Political Origins of our Times, Boston: Beacon Press.

Streeck, W. (2014) Buying Time: the Delayed Crisis of Capitalism, London: Verso.


Timing and Location





Number of sessions:

2 x 2 hours

Timing and Location:


11.00-1.00 County South Seminar Room 1

2.00-4.00 Bowland North Seminar Room 03

Additional information

Minimum quota: 6