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Crisis, Conflict and Change Away Day

Tuesday 24 April 2012,

Arden House, University of Warwick

On Tuesday, 24 May 2012, at Arden House, an Away Day coordinated by Celine Tan (Law) and Ben Richardson (PAIS) was held, with support from Manija Kamal, Elena Pifferro and Jan Aart Scholte. In total, 18 academics from different departments – Applied Linguistics, Economics, Law, Politics and International Studies and Institute for Advanced Studies – participated.

The Away Day set out to cover three areas:

  • discuss the substantive contributions that researchers have made to addressing these themes (a conversation that has been started at the roundtables)
  • learn more about the methodologies that Warwick researchers have used in approaching these issues
  • explore the potential for future cross-departmental andinterdisciplinary collaborative work and grant proposals

The questions that emerged out of these conversations, and which we hope might serve as the basis for future research collaborations, have been grouped thematically below.

Writing crisis: When does something become 'a crisis'?Who decides this and crafts its narratives?Does crisis produce particular subjectivities?Does it make sense to join particular 'global crises' together, e.g. the Triple Crisis of food, fuel and finance? Or do different issue-areas remain distinct?

The power of crisis: Do crises have some sort of essence, or might there be different types, e.g. underlying crisis and transformative crisis?Does crisis provide an opportunity for change, for opportunity to be manufactured, or for change to be speeded up (crisis as catalyst)?Conversely, does it constrain the space for action or create exceptionality, enabling undemocratic interventions in the name of security and stability?What qualities are called upon and performances are enacted during these periods of uncertainty? Might the concept of liminality be useful in understanding this threshold between two 'existential planes'?How might we think about power dynamics in the different stages of crisis emergence, resolution and prevention?

Governing crisis globally: Through what organisational forms might governance be administered? Is international law and the current legal/non-legal, formal/informal institutions of global economic governance adequate for pre-empting and responding to crisis ?Have the major international institutions responded in different ways to the same crisis? Have sub-altern perspectives been articulated or bottom-up change effected?Where might ideas for a re-imagined world be found?Beyond regulatory rules and laws, in what ways do norms and constitutive laws manifest themselves? Might the internet provide new non-hierarchical routes to collective action? Is governance compatible with the advocacy of resistance?

What is the value added of interdisciplinary GPP research in this area?

Systematic interdisciplinary research on these questions could provide significant additional value to scholarship and regulatory change. Comparative interdisciplinary study of global governance responses to various instances of acute global uncertainty as well as explorations of the impact of such uncertainty and change on global governance institutions themselves would be highly pertinent from an academic and policy perspective. The GPP grouping could thus explore the challenges posed by contemporary concerns with systemic and emerging crisis and conflict and shifting geopolitical and economic power.