Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
At first sight, political crises appear as sudden and acute disruptions in the “normal” working of political systems. This ordinary perception of political crises is hereafter taken as their provisional definition, which offers at least the convenience of illuminating a paradoxical situation. The history of our societies is extremely rich in periods or events that may serve as examples. However, political crises have only belatedly been approached as phenomena deserving to be systematically analyzed and explained for their own sake, worthy of being elevated to the status of explicit research objects. Indeed, in most works dealing with them, political crises have been approached as a means of understanding or explaining something else. This orientation of the scholar's interest has constituted a long-lasting handicap for the knowledge of these critical phenomena. The main root of this handicap lies in the common fascination with outcomes of historical processes, especially with the outcomes ...