This chapter argues that it is illuminating to read ‘crisis’ not as a fact, but as a political discourse that functions as a ‘technique of government’. Drawing examples from the context of the EU’s contemporary policy responses to the financial crisis, it illustrates how experts produce knowledge about ‘crises’, and how the discourse of crisis is operationalized as a tool for giving effect to governmental ambitions. This reading of crisis as a technique of government raises three inter-related challenges to the implied assumptions of the crisis narrative. First, it puts into question the idea that crises are ‘uncommon’ or ‘special’ events, and instead argues that the discourse of crisis is commonplace in the EU, and acts as a normative assertion about the status quo. Second, it undermines the simplistic logic of cause and effect by emphasizing the production of truth that lies at the heart of crisis discourse and how these truths shape expectations and policy proposals. Third, this reading complicates the idea that crises are ‘game changing’ moments of social or political shift, arguing rather that their political effects remain uncertain and tied up with the success of particular forms of knowledge.
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