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Grammars of Crisis

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  • Maria Boletsi
  • Joost de Bloois
  • Cornelia Gräbner
  • Janna Houwen
  • Dimitris Papanikolaou
  • Georgios Tsagdis
Publication date10/08/2021
Host publication(Un)timely Crises: Chronotopes and Critiques
EditorsMaria Boletsi, Natashe Lemos Dekker, Kasia Mika, Ksenia Robbe
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Pivot
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9783030749460
ISBN (Print)9783030749453
<mark>Original language</mark>English
Event(Un)timely Crises: Chronotopes and Critique - Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 17/10/201918/12/2019


Workshop(Un)timely Crises

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Globalization, Culture and Society
ISSN (Print)2730-9282
ISSN (Electronic)2730-9290


Workshop(Un)timely Crises


This chapter explores the normative functions of grammars of crisis that impose restrictive diagnoses of the present, alongside the potentialities that grammatical categories hold for envisioning alternative chronotopes. The chapter is structured around parts of speech—verb/noun/adjective, tense and aspect, number, modality, and voice—that alternate between theoretical expositions and examples that showcase the potential but also the discontents of these grammatical categories in relation to crisis. What happens when crisis and critique haunt each other in the adjective ‘critical’? How can the present of crisis introduce temporal difference or queer temporalities? Can a critical grammar rethink the entanglement of the singular and plural? How does modality turn the grammar of crisis into the crisis of grammar? Can the middle voice offer an alternative to binary distinctions in crisis-rhetoric between active and passive subjects, perpetrators, and victims? We argue that a thinking-through of grammatical categories could help articulate alternative accounts of agency, subjectivity, and responsibility, antagonizing the neoliberal governmentality of crisis, even when they are implicated in its structures. Acknowledging that not all elements of crisis can be understood through the conceptual construct of grammar, the grammatical categories explored here are interrupted by fictional interjections by (invented) characters—“Grammar’s ghosts”—that seek different ways of articulating the crises they have lived or helped to create.