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Institute of Advanced Study

Emergency Futures

Abstract

In this brief paper I introduce some questions that animate my current research on the role of the category of emergency in contemporary late capitalist life. Specifically, I pose three questions that, when taken together, focus attention on how and why the category of emergency is deployed in relation to disparate events and conditions: How are events and life understood in relation to the term emergency? How is twenty-first-century life governed in and through emergency? How might we learn to be democratic in relation to the necessity and urgency that seem to define emergency, whether emergency is understood as a legal-political category, structure of feeling or an idea?

Insights Paper