Grammars of Crisis

Boletsi, Maria and de Bloois, Joost and Gräbner, Cornelia and Houwen, Janna and Papanikolaou, Dimitris and Tsagdis, Georgios (2021) Grammars of Crisis. In: (Un)timely Crises : Chronotopes and Critiques. Palgrave Studies in Globalization, Culture and Society . Palgrave Pivot, NLD, pp. 23-49. ISBN 9783030749453

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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.

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?? grammars of crisiscritiquesubjectivitytensemodalitynumbermiddle voice ??
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07 Sep 2021 08:15
Last Modified:
07 May 2024 10:00