Crisis As An Art of Government

by Dario Gentili


With the sentence “There is crisis, therefore there is no alternative”, governments throughout the world justify and legitimize the most unpopular political and economic decisions. Such decisions have the peculiarity to except the common parliamentary and political procedures. They come from an elite of technicians that justify them because they are dictated by some sort of superior necessity.

Through a genealogical reconstruction of the use of the term “crisis”, I intend to demonstrate that such statements are not only rhetorical strategies, but also the expression of a particular art of government. Calling “endless crisis” or even “secular stagnation” an economic crisis which without significant interruptions has lasted at least since the Seventies is another way to speak of crisis as art of government. Crisis as art of government is the political definition of the economic crisis in the neoliberal age.

However, despite the specifically neoliberal traits of crisis as art of government, it has very ancient origins, that only a genealogical method can reveal. Indeed, now like then, the technicians – in the ancient Greek magistrates and physicians – are appointed to administrate the crisis. In this way, crisis as art – as “technique” – of government will appear as a less inescapable destiny than the current discourse about the economic crisis wants us to believe.

Crisis As An Art of Government will be published in Month 2017. Pre-orders are available at Amazon UK / Hive / Amazon US / Barnes & Noble / Indiebound.



Dario Gentili holds an Honorary Fellowship in Moral Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy, University of Roma Tre, and is research fellow at the Sum (Italian Institute of Human Sciences).