Making Crises Visible/Invisible

Annual Conference of the Leibniz-Research Alliance "Crises in a Globalised World"


Key Visual "Making Crisis Visible/Invisible"

The Leibniz-Research Alliance “Crises in a Globalised World” is organizing an Annual Conference, to be held in Berlin on 12 and 13 December 2018. The title of this conference “Making Crises Visible/Invisible” refers to the question of how to recognize, describe and analyze complex crises phenomena. As crises are always a result of a specific communication and perception in a competitive market of public attention, the mechanisms of their creation or disappearance are of high relevance. 

The title “Making Crises Visible/Invisible” might sound counterintuitive at first glance. Crises are usually understood as moments of sublime challenge which force actors to take immediate action. Due to their inevitable and urgent character, crises are expected to be highly visible with the consequence that the mechanisms of making crises visible or invisible are scarcely investigated. However, zooming in on specific crisis-situations reveals that different actors emphasize or cover very different aspects of a crisis with consequences on how a crisis is being managed and solved. Generally, crises are perceived as moments which in fact may be influenced by the actors involved and in this sense form moments of transformation rather than demise. While there is controversy in debates on whether the concept is limited to sudden challenges or whether it also includes phenomena of permanent or latent crises, the transformational potential implies that moments of crises may be used to further certain political and economic interests. In other words, there is also a politics of crises which forms an important strand of crises-research. Altogether, one major challenge in conceptualizing crises is the fusion of subjective and objective elements – the ‘sobjectivity’ so to speak. The mixture of subjective and objective views varies with regard to different kinds of crises, e.g. political, economic, humanitarian or environmental crises, and is an important aspect of how a situation is made visible or invisible as a phenomenon of crisis. Against this backdrop, this conference aims at giving space to take a closer look on the concepts and mechanisms dedicated to recognizing and describing crises.

The annual conference will take place at the Leibniz Association Headquarters and is aimed at all member institutes and members of the alliance as well as those academics or practitioners who are interested in crises research. The conference is structured in five panels, organized by the five working groups of the alliance, where the research results of the Alliance are presented and discussed. The program of the conference will be complemented by the exhibition-project “Making Crises Visible”, a cooperation between the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), the Centre for Contemporary History (ZZF) and the University of Art and Design Offenbach am Main (HfG), in which art students process scientific findings into artistic realizations.



When? December 12-13, 2018

Where? Leibniz Association Headquarters, Chaussee 111, 10115 Berlin