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

Calhoun, Craig (2004) A world of emergencies: fear, intervention, and the limits of cosmopolitan order. Canadian Review of Sociology, 41 (4). pp. 373-395. ISSN 1755-6171

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1755-618X.2004.tb00783.x


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.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2004 Canadian Sociological Association/La Société canadienne de sociologie
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Research centres and groups > Director's Management Team
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2012 15:07
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 01:06

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