A world of emergencies: Fear, intervention, and the limits of cosmopolitan order

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

128 Scopus citations

Abstract

Interventions into "complex humanitarian emergencies" have become a central part of global society. This article provides an account of the construction of "emergencies" in terms of a social imaginary that gives characteristic form to both perception and action. This imaginary shapes the definition and rhetoric of emergencies, the ways in which they are produced and recognized, and the organization of intervention. It reflects both anxiety in the face of risk and a pervasive modern faith in capacity to manage problems. Though the events demanding these interventions - for example, in Sudan - are often presented as transparently compelling, the "social imaginary of emergencies" conceptually structures this system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-395
Number of pages23
JournalCanadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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