The 2008 economic and financial crisis marked the beginning of a period of social transformation and uncertainty that continues to characterise present and future social development in unplanned and unexpected ways, with frequently harmful effects. It has highlighted the need for a deeper understanding of crises phenomena and how these affect the overall course of human development.On the one hand, the social sciences constitute a means for acquiring a better understanding of the character of the rapid and complex social transformations associated with crises. On the other hand, they can orientate people and social practices on how a greater degree of collective and democratic control can be acquired over the manner and direction of social processes in crises contexts.This book brings together a team of international scholars to address the notion of crises. Two main strains of inquiry orientate this study. First, it questions how different sociological and theoretical approaches might contribute to explain crises phenomena, analyse their effects, and identify their potential future paths of development. Secondly, it considers how crises processes and their effects on human social existence demand a re-thinking of the role of the social sciences in society, and what such a role might be.This volume not only opens up future lines of research by providing a comprehensive approach to crises phenomena, but also fills an important gap in the literature about crises which is frequently focused on only one of these dimensions and on particular historical contexts, rather than producing more comprehensive frameworks regarding the study of crises processes as a whole.
Cristina Montalvao Sarmento, PhD, is Professor of Political Theory at the Institute of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Lisbon, Portugal, with previous experience at the Universities of Azores, Algarve, NOVA Lisbon. The former Maitre de Conferences at the Euro-Latin-American Campus of Sciences Po Paris, France, she is currently Director of the Political Observatory and Editor of the Portuguese Journal of Political Science. She is also Secretary-General of the International Association of Portuguese Language Universities, and heads the International Journal on Portuguese Language.