The weaponising of emergency

Making and manipulating crises in the West

David Keen lifts the lid on the constant state of ‘emergency politics’ currently consuming the Global North and argues why the framework of the Global South is key to understanding, and disrupting, these self-reinforcing systems of crisis.

 

A kind of ‘emergency politics’ is significantly shaping many political systems across the world, and Western democracies are far from immune. It may be that globalization is now helping to ‘import’ into Western democracies not only the large-scale superfluousness and precarity afflicting the rest of the world but also some of the emergency politics that many influential actors in the Global South have for some time been fostering and using to distract, absorb and suppress the energies of discontented populations.

A key part of the problem in Western democracies today, as so often in many parts of the Global South, has been that the underlying functions of overlapping disasters have helped

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