W098
Chance in time of crisis

Convenors:
Riccardo Ciavolella (CNRS/EHESS)
Lorenzo D'Angelo (University of Milano-Bicocca)
Discussant:
Danielle de Lame
Location:
Humanities Large Seminar Room 1
Start time:
27 August, 2010 at 11:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The panel highlights the role of chance or luck in individual or collective experiences and particularly in situation of crisis. Is the idea of chance a response to a shared human condition of uncertainty and vulnerability or a specific phenomenon of the globalized "risk society"?

Long abstract:

The panel aims to collect contributions highlighting the role of chance or luck in individual or collective experiences and particularly in situation of crisis. We often talk about causality when confronting drastic and critical phenomena we are unable to control or predict, i.e. natural disasters. In daily life experience, too, people feel dependent on luck and chance, in particularly some professional or non professional categories: stock exchange investors, gem and precious metals prospectors, gamblers. Fortune (or misfortune) are important in explaining the outcome of a lottery or a game show, sport scores, stock market investments, professional career; or an existential drama, an unfavourable financial situation, and so on. In any case, the notions of luck and chance are supposed to explain the reasons for an uncertain and unpredictable reality. Contributions will focus on most recent events of public interest, such as the case of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the "environmental" disasters like tsunami or earthquakes, and other crisis derived from ecological deterioration (droughts, famine) or technological risk. The objective of this panel is to raise the debate on a comparative level. On the one hand, it will address the issue of luck in front of the shared human condition of uncertainty and vulnerability. On the other, it will try to understand whether, in the globalized "risk society", the concepts of luck and chance acquire a special significance, as probably inferred by some depoliticizing explanations made by analysts and politicians to the recent international economic crisis.