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Understanding Crisis: Critical Explorations of Crisis

Pufendorf Institute Advanced Study Group, 2017-2018
This newly launched Pufendorf Institute Advanced Study Group revolves around critical explorations of crisis.

The Group’s work focuses on the ways in which daily basis reports alarm about various kinds of crisis 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 crisis instantiations weave our world together as threads of a media tuned global crisis narrative. Yet, crisis also refers to monumental forces of reality that shatter lifeworlds, cause societal rupture, and destruction. A crisis, materializing or perceived, provides for rapid shifts in the socio-political and economic landscapes and brings to the surface its inherently gendered dimensions. Gender, masculinity, power, and privileges are critical factors to take into account not only to understand the ramifications of a crisis but also to unfold definitions of a crisis and attempts of resolving it. What does a crisis mean for the security, precariousness, rights, and justice of particular individuals and groups in specific contexts? Urgent calls for political action and ethical claims for more inclusive and efficient models for crisis prevention, mitigation, and restoration indicate the importance of critically exploring crisis from an interdisciplinary perspective. The Advanced Study Group will thus undertake inter- and multidisciplinary examinations of the conceptuality of crisis, the reciprocity between various types of crises, and the gender dynamics by which a crisis is configured. Here, four intimately intertwined areas are particularly central:

  • Climate Change.
  • Conflict.
  • Migration.
  • Global Health.

Each of these transnational challenges is interrelated, and as nodes they serve to impact one another. They are even indicative of the spatio-temporal processes of transmutation undergone by an actual crisis when morphed from an abrupt incident to a state of permanency; as a condition which frames horizons, beliefs, hopes, and the range of possible forms of individual and collective agency.

Helle Rydström, Professor, Department of Gender Studies, Lund University.

Core Group
Annika Bergman Rosamond, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Sciences, Lund University.
Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen, Research Director, Raoul Wallenberg Institutet, Lund.
Mo Hamza, Professor, Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety, Lund University.
Jeff Hearn, Professor, Management and Organization, Hanken School of Economics, Finland.
Vasna Ramasar, Senior Lecturer, Center for Sustainability Studies, Lund University.

Involved Scholars
The Advanced Study Group includes a large number of scholars from within and outside Lund University as well as representatives of various agencies and organizations.

In the fall of 2017, the Advanced Study Group will organize seminars and workshops at the Pufendorf Institute.



Helle Rydström
Department of Gender Studies


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