12.12.2018: 13:00h Panel I “Placeless dynamics? Visualizing the spatiality of crises”
Chair: Rüdiger Graf, Center for Contemporary History, Potsdam
Session organised by the Working Group “Concepts of Crises”
Crises are difficult if not impossible to ignore. Diagnosing a crisis is often an effective strategy to draw the attention of political actors and the media to a certain set of problems. Once a crisis is announced, social actors can hardly avoid becoming part of it, be it as victims or responsible decision makers, expert consultants, media representatives or simply as public audience. Yet, at the same time, crises may also remain strangely elusive. Different and even mutually exclusive ways of framing a crisis usually co-exist and public opinion may easily shift between alternative ways of seeing a crisis and even to forgetting the allegedly urgent crisis. Crises may emerge surprisingly without any predictable connection to empirically measurable problems. Often crises spill over into other sectors or societal subsystems in unforeseen ways. In this panel, we want to scrutinize this strange elusiveness of crises by focusing on the complex and dynamic spatiality of crises, which so far has received only limited scholarly attention. In general, the temporal structures and peculiarities of crises haven been thoroughly analysed, describing crises as narrative devices that dramatize the present as a “moment of decision” between two existentially different futures and, thereby, creating an urgency to act. Yet, rather little is known about the spatiality of crises, the ways in which they spread and affect different places, their territorial extension or the dynamics of their expansion. Such a spatial perspective, we assume, will be useful to analyse the scope and extend of any crisis and, especially, of crises in a globalizing world. In particular, we will ask how the spatiality of crises is and may be visualized, e.g. by identifying “hot-spots” or “emblematic places” that are supposed to unveil the true nature of a crisis.
The spatiality of crises from a dynamic process perspective
Verena Brinks, Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space
Crises unfold in time and space. However, crisis research has so far mainly focused on the temporal dimension of crises, identifying “phases” of crises such as pre crisis, acute crisis and post crisis. Less explicit attention has been given to the spaces of crises and how they unfold. However, as we argue, a process perspective, which is regarded as increasingly important for grasping crisis phenomena adequately, will always be incomplete without a systematic integration of the spatiality of crises. The aim of the presentation is to shed light on the spatial dimension of crises. Therefore, the paper firstly outlines different analytical perspectives on the spatiality of crisis (relationality, topology, territoriality and scale). Secondly, first findings from an intense document analysis on the courses of past crises illustrate the time-spatial process perspective on crises.
Textbooks as a realm of crisis discourse: the spatial representation of conflicts about water
Tobias Ide, Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research
School textbooks contain the knowledge a society considers relevant to pass on to the next generation, and are hence indicators of wider societal debates. This includes discussions of past, current and future crisis. With ongoing global environmental change and increasing water scarcity in many regions, there is a large literature on the depiction of water crisis in the political, academic, economic, civil society and media domain. But so far, none of these studies focuses on school textbooks or other educational media. This study addresses this void by analysing the depiction of water conflicts in German school textbooks published between 2000 and 2017. In order to do so, it employs a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods and focuses in particular on the spatial and visual representations of water crises. Results show that the analysed school textbooks securitise water, reproduce Orientalist stereotypes about the Global South, and promote an uncritical green economy stance towards the privatisation of water.
Crisis, Capital and the City
Manuel Aalbers, KU Leuven
In 1978 David Harvey’s seminal The Urban Process Under Financialized Capitalism was published. An important part of the article deals with the how capital ‘switches’ between sectors and places as a response to (looming) crises. In this paper I seek to re-interpret capital switching in the 21st century. We are now in a situation where capital switching into the built environment has entered a hyper or manic phase. I will make visible four forms of switching and their spatialities. Capital is switched so intensively that it is hard to deny the process takes places. At the same time, capital switching is no longer a last-ditch hope in times of crisis—if it ever was—or so it would appear. After all, if capital is constantly switching into the built environment and doing so across the globe, it would be hard to maintain that capital switching is a solution to a crisis. Or is it?
12.12.2018:15:15h Panel II “Dropout from Multilateralism – Economic Consequences and Conclusions”
Chair: Friedrich Heinemann, Center for Economic Research, Mannheim/ University of Heidelberg
Session organized by the Working Group “Economic Crises”
Over decades there seemed to be a continuous and stable development towards a rule-based multilateral economic governance. Increasingly refined trade rules (World Trade Organization) for the global level, ever closer cooperation on tax issues of industrial countries (OECD) and detailed fiscal and economic policy coordination (European Union) seemed to have made global economic relations predictable. This understanding has been shattered over the last two years with the Trump presidency, the Brexit decision, but also the broader rise of populist parties and programs in which a return to a narrow national perspective is a key ingredient. This panel wants to explore causes and consequences of this development.
Dropout from Multilateralism – The Case of European Monetary Union
Friedrich Heinemann, Center for Economic Research, Mannheim/ University of Heidelberg
A monetary union implies that public goods like financial, fiscal and monetary stability become common European goods that are simultaneously provided by all member economies. The Maastricht construction of European Monetary Union (EMU) has nevertheless left the dominant fiscal sovereignty with the Member States. Resulting externalities from irresponsible behavior are addressed through a rule-based approach with rules being continuously refined (Stability and Growth Pact, Six-Pack, Two-Pack, Fiscal Compact, EU budget conditionality). This model can only function in principle as long as EMU member states have a common understanding about the importance and validity of these rules. With the rise of populist parties and governments, this Maastricht model for EMU is in danger since governments have started to openly challenging the rules. With the Italian budget conflict the risk has increased that the euro area could suffer another debt crisis for which newly established instruments (European Stability Mechanism, European Central Bank bond purchase programs) will not be available. This contribution will analyze the institutional shortcomings and the resulting strategic problems and point out possible reform options that could make EMU more resistant against non-complying Member States.
Populists in Power: Economic and Political Consequences
Manuel Funke, Institute for the World Economy, Kiel
Populism is on the rise. How do populist leaders perform in office, and how do markets react? This paper provides new insights into the consequences of populism by studying the economic and political performance of populist governments since 1900. We construct a new dataset on leftwing and right-wing populist leaders in a sample of 60 countries and more than 100 years. For coding, we follow the consensus approach and define populism as a political style that centers on an alleged struggle between “the people” and “the elites”. The data show that populism at the level of governments is a recurring phenomenon and has reached an all-time high in 2017, with more than 20% of countries in our sample now ruled by populists. Looking at real GDP per capita, our data show that populists rarely “go bust” in the short term. The widespread belief that populists will soon self-destruct cannot be confirmed when looking at a broad sample of cases. In the long-run, however, both leftwing and rightwing populist governments tend to produce severe crashes. We link these long-term crashes to the erosion of the checks and balances of democracy under populist rulers. Across the board, we find that democratic institutions are weakened significantly after populists come to power. Standard measures of executive constraints, political rights, press freedom and judicial independence decline strongly and persistently.
Dropout from Multilateralism – the Case of Climate Negotiations
Sonja Zitzelsberger, University of Kassel
Anthropogenic climate change poses one of the greatest threat and challenge to humanity. The difficulty to confront it lies, among other things, in the need for multilateral action of a substantial majority of countries and their citizens. Since the first warnings of scientists in the 80ies a slow process of international cooperation has begun which led to the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015. However, so far countries’ promised actions fall short of the ambitious goals set in the Agreement. This presentation gives an overview of the history of international climate negotiations and presents results from a survey of deeply involved participants in this process and their reflection on the climate negotiations. It further discusses the significance and consequences of the announcement of the Trump administration to step out of the Paris Agreement.
13.12.2018:9:00h Panel III “Permanent crises of political institutions between visibility and invisibility”
Chair: Antonia Witt, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
Session organized by the Working Group “Socio-Political Crises”
The life of many political institutions, domestic and international, is characterized by a sequence of relatively stable and tranquil periods and periods of crisis. More often than not, however, the seeds of a crisis can already be discerned during stable phases and can even be traced back to efforts at resolving earlier crises. While the solutions to earlier crises appeared to have worked and stabilized the institution, they actually served to invisibilize continuing processes of institutional corrosion or created new sources of institutional instability. From this vantage point, these political institutions are in a permanent state of crisis. It is the visibility of the crisis that varies: What is perceived as individual moments of crisis can be understood as only the visible episodes of one larger crisis phenomenon. Contributions to this panel will critically discuss this argument with respect to various historical and contemporary cases.
Crisis and Progress: The International Criminal Court and the RtoP under attack
Nicole Deitelhoff, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
The International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect represent two normative and institutional innovations in world politics, aiming at increasing the protection of individuals. However, both innovations have experienced recurrent contestation since their very emergence and both are commonly referred to as being in crisis or even on the brink of decay. While much of this contestation results from unresolved tensions in the normative architecture of the UN-system, it also feeds back into this architecture bringing about further innovations and adaptations.
How to create visible crises: Iran and the West between Shah and Khomeini
Frank Bösch, Center for Contemporary History, Potsdam
The Iranian revolution is still remembered as one of the most fundamental crises since 1945: as a take-off for Islamic fundamentalism, as a fundamental challenge for the US and the Western world in the Middle East, and as a catalyst for the oil crises and major global economic crises, which supported the rise of conservative und neoliberal politics in the early 1980s. This paper analyses how global media communication created such powerful crises. It is shown how international journalism supported indirectly the rise of Chomeini’s position during his French exile in 1978/79, and how his return to Teheran was transformed into a “live broadcasting of history”. During the revolution, the crisis was interpreted as a clash of cultures, which led to a new stigmatisation of Islamic culture in the Western world. Especially the hostage-taking at the US embassy in Teheran serves as case study to analyse, how a global visible crisis was created, which was hard to solve and led to frictions, which still influence the global politics up to today.
Crises of global and international order?
Andrew Hurrell, University of Oxford
The current global conjuncture is most visibly framed as a crisis of the liberal international order. But does this very visibility obscure more than it reveals? Answering this requires definitional unpacking of the idea of crisis – and, especially in terms of international politics, the idea of a permanent crisis; it requires considering the different theoretical accounts of what the crisis of the liberal international order is all about; and it requires a critical engagement with the historical development of those invisible or semi-visible dynamics and drivers that link previous crises with the current situation. The presentation will give especial emphasis to the 1970s and their after-life, and to the specific ways in which resolving the ‘crisis of West’ in the 1970s helps us make sense of the world of 2018.
13.12.2018:11:15h Panel IV “Environmental crisis in the eye of different beholders: From seeing and understanding”
Chair: Andreas Macke, Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research
Session organized by the Working Group “Environmental Crises”
Environmental crises are usually not immediately visible and their effects on humans and nature are in part neither directly recognisable nor causally assignable. Change in the quality of environmental media such as air and water; for example, can only be understood scientifically through physical and chemical analysis methods. The reduction of species diversity can only be demonstrated by systematic surveys and statistical evaluations. And climate change, with its large-scale impacts, requires long-term observation data and complex model simulations. These environmental changes are mostly the result of the actions of various social actors. Crises arise when these actions are no longer related to the pressures or dangers for the environment and social control fails. Since the absence of these connections also eludes direct observation, social awareness and effective interventions are made more difficult. Against this background, the panel examines the seeing and understanding of environmental crises from both a scientifically empirical perspective and the perspective of social awareness and control with its discursive construction. The following three questions are central: Which environmental changes are typical effects of crises and how can they be identified? Which behaviors and control deficits are the causes of these crises? How can these crises and their effects be communicated in public discourse even in competition with fake science?
Environmental crises – Towards a multidisciplinary conceptualisation
Jochen Schanze, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Dresden
A transdisciplinary approach to mitigate emissions of black carbon in Metro Manila, Philippines
Simonas Kecorius, Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig
The agglomeration of Metro Manila, Philippines, over the last decades became an exemplary case of unsustainable development as massive urbanization resulted in the rapid increase of its population. Consequently, growing vehicular fleet led to a collapse of city’s transportation infrastructure. It resulted in congested streets being filled with private cars, taxis, old buses and public utility Jeepneys (PUJs). Equipped with pre-EURO standard diesel engines, particularly the latter category of transportation is responsible for emitting high concentrations of combustion generated Black Carbon (BC) aerosol particles. Coupled with outdated environmental legislation, absence of public awareness, and idleness, the situation in Metro Manila became an environmental crisis of ever-since worsening air quality.
To fix the prevailing problem of air pollution, the government of the Philippines came up with the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), a plan aiming to modernize public transport sector. The department of transportation (DoTr) aims at removing old vehicles (15 years and older) from the road until 2021. Such a decision was not welcomed in the public without a sound concern: some of affected groups already opposed the modernization program arguing that it threatens transport cooperatives and single-unit Jeepney owners.
Here, we will present the on-going work of recently built consortium to develop and empirically test strategies towards a more sustainable management of air quality standards and emission control frameworks in Metro Manila. The approach relays on transdisciplinary cooperation by bringing together researchers from the environmental, social, and health sciences, stakeholders from NGO’s, politicians as well as public movements from both Germany and the Philippines to build city’s capacity in reducing air pollution. The specific nature of the mechanisms to achieve project goals, such as assessment of the BC pollution levels and adaptation strategies in the transport sector, assessment of the institutional environment of air pollution regulation and governance, and determination of health effects due to exposure to Black Carbon will be brought into a context of achieving project goals.
Water pollution from agriculture as an emerging crisis: The mobilization potential of NGOs
Jale Tosun, University of Heidelberg
13.12.201814:00h Panel V “Food insecurity, food price developments, and social protest”
Chair: Stefan Kroll, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
Session organized by the Working Group “Humanitarian Crises”
Food insecurity was one of the claims mobilizing social protests during the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011. The protests in Egypt were, as is well known, accompanied by the demand for “bread, freedom, and social justice”. However, food insecurity still is an unresolved issue in Egypt and the MENA region by and large. Research on the uprisings and its aftermaths illustrate a rather complex mixture of motivations and policy demands, and food insecurity turned out not to be a particular reason for ongoing socioeconomic protest and decision making after the Arab spring. On the contrary, within Egypt‘s comprehensive macro-economic and structural reforms, aiming to spur sustainable economic growth, just recently has led to an extensive cut of subsidies on wheat grower prices and bread end consumer prices which will have an effect on both wheat farmers and consumers. Thus, how does it come, that the highly visible crisis of food insecurity and hunger does not translate into ongoing specific protest and immediate political action with the goal to solve this problem? What are the conditions and barriers to make this crisis visible? This panel on the visibility and invisibility of the humanitarian crisis of food insecurity will deal with these questions from three disciplinary perspectives: Using scholarship on social movements and political participation, one of the papers will discuss the general aspects of socio-economic protests in selected countries of the MENA region between 2011 and 2016 (Weipert-Fenner). Zooming in on the issue of food insecurity and agricultural and food price developments, the second intervention will be evaluating policy changes by the Egyptian government from the perspective of agricultural economics by using the example of price developments along the wheat-to-bread supply chain (Ahmed and Götz). The third paper will provide an empirical perspective on the issue of food security and conflict (Martin-Shields).
Socioeconomic protests and incorporation crises in post-revolutionary Egypt and Tunisia: A comparative analysis inspired by Latin American experiences
Irene Weipert-Fenner, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
Comparing the 2011 revolutions and their aftermath in Egypt and Tunisia, a puzzling pattern of similarities and differences comes to the fore. First, the uprisings that culminated in the toppling of long-standing dictators in the two countries share some key characteristics. Second, however, the trajectories of political transformation after the revolutions have taken opposite directions: a re-stabilization of authoritarian rule in Egypt; a progressive, if fragile institutionalization of democracy in Tunisia. These diverging political contexts notwithstanding, post-revolutionary Egypt and Tunisia, third, display again quite similar patterns in economic policy-making and reform. Fourth, quantitative trends in socioeconomic protests are very different (clearly reflecting the differences in the political opportunity structures rather than the socioeconomic similarities). But, fifth, key qualitative characteristics of these socioeconomic protests are again fairly similar (they are, for instance, mostly defensive, fragmented and issue-specific). This common weakness of the protests is, sixth, reflected in the political consequences of these protests, which have generally been limited and mainly status-quo oriented in both cases and therefore do not significantly reflect the dramatically different degrees of access to the political system that one would expect given the diverging politico-institutional contexts.
The paper presents these comparative findings on Egypt and Tunisia and discusses them in light of experiences from Latin America. In particular, the paper draws on the concept of incorporation that has been developed and used to understand the political consequences of social movements in Latin America. Against this background, both the uprisings and the post-revolutionary dynamics of socioeconomic contention in Egypt and Tunisia can be understood as manifestations of a persisting crisis of incorporation. More specifically, we argue that while the political regime developments in the two countries have taken divergent trajectories, the ways in which these emerging regimes incorporate (or not) the popular sectors and their organizations bear some important similarities. In democratic Tunisia as in authoritarian Egypt, institutionalized access of popular sector organizations to the political arena is as limited as the political responsivity to their concerns. At the same time, the dynamics of socioeconomic protests and their political relevance are, likewise, shaped by the underlying crisis of incorporation that particularly concerns the heterogeneous set of social groups that make up the popular sectors.
Post-Arab Spring macroeconomic reforms and price developments in the wheat-to-bread supply chain in Egypt
Osama Ahmed, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies, Halle (Saale)
In the aftermath of the Arab spring, Egypt’s economic development has worsened, increasing poverty and food insecurity. The Egyptian government has implemented an ambitious macroeconomic and structural reform program aiming to spur sustainable economic growth. This includes the abolition of the fixing of exchange rate in 2016, which led to a devaluation of the Egyptian pound by over 50%, strongly increasing the price of imported foods as e.g. wheat. Also, the government has comprehensively reduced subsidies. For example, subsidies on the wheat grower price paid to farmers were reduced from 30% to 5% in 2018. Also, eligibility of consumers to obtain the subsidized baladi bread was constrained. Wheat represents the largest food staple for Egypt’s population of over 100 million people. After Arab Spring, wheat prices in Egypt have undergone many fluctuations as a result of economic, financial and political issues. This presentation provides a first evaluation of those policy changes from the perspective of agricultural economics. By using the example of the wheat-to-bread supply chain price developments are interpreted and their economic consequences -from farmers to end consumers- are discussed.
Food security and conflict: Using empirical research to affect food policy in crises
Charles Martin-Shields, German Development Institute, Bonn
This talk will discuss how researchers bring hard-to-observe long term impacts of food insecurity, especially in conflict-affected countries, into the wider public policy debate. The question of the linkages between food security and conflict has been widely debated for many years. The relationship between the collapse of food systems and large scale crises such as riots is self-evident; under pressure to acquire food people become desperate, leading to moments of social and political crisis. These very visible crises are easy to see and understand, but long term food and nutrition crises that manifest over generations in conflict-affected countries have proven harder to bring into the public debate. Increasing availability of fine-grained, high-quality data combined with new econometric and survey research approaches has led to new findings about the role of protracted food insecurity in conflict and crisis-affected countries. Researchers have found that causal and substantive links exist between food security and violent conflict, spanning the individual up to global levels. But many of these research techniques lead to results that can be hard for politicians, and the public, to interpret and consume. The task for researchers is to make good science tangible to a wider public - this talk will show where the challenges for researchers start, the techniques that are used to disentangle complex food security issues during crises, and how these techniques can be presented in a way that makes subtle but critical issues in food security visible to a wider public audience.