Emergency Thinking

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“One of the things that has seduced people into giving up on their own actions is the claim of emergency—the government will often make the spurious claim that because certain things require very fast action, there is no time for ordinary processes of deliberation and thinking, and therefore we have to abridge our normal protocols. I find exactly the opposite to be the case. Thinking and emergency action are deeply compatible.”

An interview with Harvard social theorist Elaine Scarry addresses her new book Thinking in Emergency. Comparing responses toward natural and man-made emergencies across nations, Scarry critiques the United States’ contemporary attitude toward emergency preparedness and mutual aid. She ruminates on the difference between scaring versus preparing the population for the unexpected.

(Via Book Bench)


Lisa Dusenbery is the former managing editor of The Rumpus. More from this author →