This article presents an analytics of crisis politics to critically examine crisis discourses. Crises are understood differently by different scholarships, resulting in diverging accounts of crisis politics. After distilling five conceptual frames of crisis politics, the article aims to unravel their points of convergence. Before we conceptualize crisis politics alternatively, we present and analyze an empirical context of a crisis discourse in the domain of infrastructure governance (in the Netherlands). This specific crisis discourse illustrates how politics of an economic crisis puts pressure on public values, citizenship and even create its own democratic crisis. We translate the points of convergence between the five crisis frames in terms of an analytics of crisis politics, based on two principles: (1) crisis problematization (framing a phenomenon in terms of a crisis); and (2) crisis governance (managing this manufactured crisis tactically). This analytics enables us to reframe ‘a crisis’ as a multi-layered political category. We argue that critical research on (contemporary) crises illuminates how crisis discourses operate and the specific governmental tensions they produce.

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Critical Policy Studies
Department of Psychology

Jhagroe, S., & Frantzeskaki, N. (2016). Framing a crisis: exceptional democracy in Dutch infrastructure governance. Critical Policy Studies, 10(3), 348–364. doi:10.1080/19460171.2015.1066690