Marissia Fragkou – Crisis or Precarity? ‘Navigating what’s overwhelming’


Event Date: 29 April 2016
Performing Arts Studio 5
The University of Winchester
Sparkford Road,
Winchester SO22 4NR


The Department of Performing Arts at the University of Winchester presents:

Marissia Fragkou (Canterbury Christchurch) –  Crisis or Precarity? ‘Navigating what’s overwhelming’

The proliferation of discourses around ‘crisis’ permeating every aspect of life and politics often present ahistorical readings of the contemporary moment as a state of exception and an unprecedented emergency of huge magnitude. Yet what are the features of what constitutes crisis today? Where does crisis begin and when will it end? Who decides? For thinkers such as Lauren Berlant, crisis is firmly attached to the disruption of normality, ‘a process embedded in the ordinary that unfolds in stories about navigating what’s overwhelming’ (Berlant, 2011, p. 10). This provocation seeks to unpack Berlant’s understanding of crisis in line with Rancière’s proposition of crisis as ‘excess’. In doing so, I will propose the use of ‘precarity’ as a lens and conduit which allows us to explore the paradoxes of crisis and address the ‘overwhelming’ aspects of late modernity. Drawing on work by Judith Butler, Isabel Lorey, Sarah Ahmed and Achille Mbembe, I will briefly discuss the interface of sovereignty, necropolitics, the promise of happiness in order to make a case for reading performances of precarity as a troubling and enabling politics which renegotiates identity and community.


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