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Rhetoric of discourses on crises

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Organizer: Barbara Sobczak/ Monika Wójciak

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Many social and political crises in recent years have stemmed off global events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, and local events such as the war in Syria or the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Etymologically, the word crisis comes from the Greek word krisis. It means a long-lasting and unmanageably bad situation, a period of breakdown, a turning point, a breakthrough, or the need to fight and overcome an unfavourable state. On a general level, it also refers to the necessity to choose or to decide, usually under time pressure and in unfavourable circumstances.

Crises are an integral part of human existence, both in an onto- and phylogenetic sense. As Niklas Luhmann states: the discourse on crises in various spheres of life is typical of modernity and is practically permanent within it. We use the concept of crises primarily for practical purposes and use it to call for extraordinary action. Crises affect all areas and aspects of human existence, trigger transformational processes, affect identity issues, and leave a permanent mark on culture. Therefore, the phenomenon of crises is worth investigating.


We invite you to participate in the rhetoric of discourses on crises and to consider how various images of crises are constructed in media and in old and contemporary literature. Under which circumstances can a situation be described as a crisis and what are the rhetorical ways of influencing the perception of a crisis? Are crises something necessary, or just inevitable and accidental? Is it possible to return to normal after a crisis? Are there specific rhetorical patterns in describing different types of crises, e.g., in politics, economy, healthcare, education, science, climate issues, and in personal and professional life? Does the language and literature of different cultural circles differentiate the issue of crises?


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