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  • Anti-Crisis

    Author(s): Janet Roitman
    Published: 2013
    Pages: 176
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $74.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5512-0
  • Paperback: $21.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5527-4
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  • Acknowledgments  xi
    Introduction. What Is at Stake?  1
    1. Crisis Demands  15
    Judgment Day  
    The Moral Demand  
    The Test  
    2. Crisis Narratives  41
    Bubbles  
    Houses  
    Finance  
    Subjects  
    3. Crisis: Refrain!  71
    Noncrisis Narrations  
    The Crisis that does not Obtain  
    Conclusion: Dreams  91
    Notes  97
    References  133
    Index  153
      
  • “One of the great strengths of Roitman’s book is that by analysing how we come to view certain events as being indications of a ‘crisis’, she also sheds light on the way we construct our notion of ‘normalcy.’  . . . Anti-Crisis is clearly the product of a serious attempt to think outside the usual academic boxes, and as such it deserves much praise. It is to Roitman’s credit, and to the reader’s benefit, that she largely succeeds in her aim to illuminate the notion of crisis as an object of knowledge.” — Luke McDonagh, LSE Review of Books

    Anti-Crisis is an engaging, timely, and provocative critical analysis of contemporary crisis narratives. It does work that few others have undertaken by plumbing the roots of crisis as a historico-philosophical concept and approaching its narration as a discursive tool for the defense of the status quo and the interests animating it. Roitman does a superb job of excavating and analyzing the technical practices that allowed for what were at one moment regarded as legitimate and lucrative practices of debt capitalization to be transfigured in the next moment into toxic obligations requiring public bailouts in order to rescue the world as we know it.” — Alex Khasnabish, Anthropological Quarterly

    “Roitman’s book fulfills multiple timely and important tasks. . . . Roitman therefore calls attention to the contingent practices which constitute normality as institutional legitimacy. . . . The merit of this perspective is that it restores politicality both in and beyond crisis conditions.” — Sascha Engel, New Political Science

    Reviews

  • “One of the great strengths of Roitman’s book is that by analysing how we come to view certain events as being indications of a ‘crisis’, she also sheds light on the way we construct our notion of ‘normalcy.’  . . . Anti-Crisis is clearly the product of a serious attempt to think outside the usual academic boxes, and as such it deserves much praise. It is to Roitman’s credit, and to the reader’s benefit, that she largely succeeds in her aim to illuminate the notion of crisis as an object of knowledge.” — Luke McDonagh, LSE Review of Books

    Anti-Crisis is an engaging, timely, and provocative critical analysis of contemporary crisis narratives. It does work that few others have undertaken by plumbing the roots of crisis as a historico-philosophical concept and approaching its narration as a discursive tool for the defense of the status quo and the interests animating it. Roitman does a superb job of excavating and analyzing the technical practices that allowed for what were at one moment regarded as legitimate and lucrative practices of debt capitalization to be transfigured in the next moment into toxic obligations requiring public bailouts in order to rescue the world as we know it.” — Alex Khasnabish, Anthropological Quarterly

    “Roitman’s book fulfills multiple timely and important tasks. . . . Roitman therefore calls attention to the contingent practices which constitute normality as institutional legitimacy. . . . The merit of this perspective is that it restores politicality both in and beyond crisis conditions.” — Sascha Engel, New Political Science

  • "Anti-Crisis incisively illuminates a core blind spot of modern understandings of history: the coupling of critique & crisis. Janet Roitman sunders this couple revealing the ties that have bound us and thereby opens up welcome new horizons for thought and action. Once the complacency of the self-importance of living in a crisis epoch is gone, then prophecy, denunciation and the speaker’s benefit can be bundled with other toxic waste and pawned off on those looking for assurance at bargain rates."—Paul Rabinow, coauthor of Demands of the Day: On the Logic of Anthropological Inquiry — N/A

    "Anti-Crisis will become an instant classic. It is that good. Seeking to understand why crisis has become an 'omnipresent sign in almost all forms of narrative today,' Janet Roitman analyzes the constitution of crisis as a privileged object of knowledge, a ground to 'critical theory' and the human sciences more broadly, and an instigation to various modes of action in the world. Along the way, she makes crucial interventions in debates about what is critical about critical theory, what the critical human sciences are for, and how they ought to be sustained, or not, in the wake of the restructuring of U.S. higher education. This is a stunning, paradigm-shifting achievement." — Bill Maurer, author of Mutual Life, Limited: Islamic Banking, Alternative Currencies, Lateral Reason

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  • Description

    Crisis is everywhere: in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and the Congo; in housing markets, money markets, financial systems, state budgets, and sovereign currencies. In Anti-Crisis, Janet Roitman steps back from the cycle of crisis production to ask not just why we declare so many crises but also what sort of analytical work the concept of crisis enables. What, she asks, are the stakes of crisis? Taking responses to the so-called subprime mortgage crisis of 2007–2008 as her case in point, Roitman engages with the work of thinkers ranging from Reinhart Koselleck to Michael Lewis, and from Thomas Hobbes to Robert Shiller. In the process, she questions the bases for claims to crisis and shows how crisis functions as a narrative device, or how the invocation of crisis in contemporary accounts of the financial meltdown enables particular narratives, raising certain questions while foreclosing others.

    About The Author(s)

    Janet Roitman is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research. She is the author of Fiscal Disobedience: An Anthropology of Economic Regulation in Central Africa.

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