Politics of Catastrophe: Genealogies of the unknown

Claudia Aradau, Rens van Munster

Research output: Book/ReportBook

224 Citations (Scopus)


This book argues that catastrophe is a particular way of governing future events – such as terrorism, climate change or pandemics – which we cannot predict but which may strike suddenly, without warning, and cause irreversible damage.

At a time where catastrophe increasingly functions as a signifier of our future, imaginaries of pending doom have fostered new modes of anticipatory knowledge and redeployed existing ones. Although it shares many similarities with crises, disasters, risks and other disruptive incidents, this book claims that catastrophes also bring out the very limits of knowledge and management. The politics of catastrophe is turned towards an unknown future, which must be imagined and inhabited in order to be made palpable, knowable and actionable. Politics of Catastrophe critically assesses the effects of these new practices of knowing and governing catastrophes to come and challenges the reader to think about the possibility of an alternative politics of catastrophe.

This book will be of interest to students of critical security studies, risk theory, political theory and International Relations in general.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages176
ISBN (Electronic)9780203815793
ISBN (Print)9780415627382
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NamePRIO New Security Studies


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