Sociological Imagination as Social Critique: Interrogating the Global Economic Crisis

A C Dinerstein, Gregory Schwartz, Graham Taylor

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Why talk about the global economic crisis today? The topic no longer seems as relevant or fresh as it did two years ago when we issued the call for papers. At that time, the events following the implosion of Lehman Brothers in 2008 seemed to be at the centre of everyday and media discourse: we heard it on the radio, saw it on television, read it in the printed media and thought about it in public and private places. Our imaginaries and experiences seemed to be saturated by the global economic crisis. The global economic crisis informed or structured discussions about political interventions, bailouts, quantitative easing, the nationalisation of financial institutions, and austerity programmes. The emergence of the Indignados in Spain, the public sector workers’ protests in Greece, the London Riots, the Occupy Movement, the Arab Spring and the mass demonstrations in Russia and Turkey were often read through the prism of, or shared a common destiny with, the unfolding crisis.
Does the decentring of the global economic crisis from public and media attention imply that the crisis is over or should we understand both the existence and the effects of subsequent events and developments as ongoing expressions of the crisis? These events and developments have included a shift in the dominant discourse from ‘crisis’ to ‘recovery and growth’, heightened concerns around migration, the fiscal and legitimation problems of political institutions, the rise of right wing parties and movements and the return of geopolitics and violent conflicts. Is it now appropriate to reassign these events and developments to the discrete domains of economics, demography, politics and geography or do we need to rethink the concept and understanding of crisis in deeper sociological terms?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-868
Number of pages10
JournalSociology-the Journal of the British Sociological Association
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2014


  • global economic crisis
  • sociology
  • social critique
  • social theory
  • deconstructing the crisis
  • crisis and hope


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