Lecture: What is a societal crisis?

Mark Rhinard’s lecture at Stockholm University’s third Sustainability forum on the topic “From crisis to sustainability” on 22 April 2021.

Societies once treated ‘crises’ as unpredictable events requiring urgent responses under conditions of uncertainty. Crises would come and go: discrete events that represent interruptions to normal life. Today’s crises seem different. Issues like climate change, spreading pandemics and economic turbulence appear as permanent fixtures of our lives. We know about them. We live with them. And yet, with only some exceptions, the sense of urgency is not there. Governments do not act in time or do not act at all.

What explains how modern societies manage these ‘creeping’ crises? What kind of capacities are required to do so? What might prompt governments to act before it’s too late – either in terms of damage or their own lost legitimacy?

Listen to the lecture to hear more about these questions!