Narrating Crisis

About Project

The project focused on how narratives of crisis change and shape institutions and it analyses the role of narratives and narrating in institutionalization and institutional change. Narratives of crisis refer to accounts of failure and disorder in normal development both in politics as well as policy. Analysing the ways in which public policy narratives interconnect with politics allows us to better understand how actors in public affairs justify themselves. It helps us contemplate policy making as a means of defining and disputing the legitimacy of institutional arrangements, and, vice versa, it helps us read politics as a mediating field in which policy makers stake out their positions and claim a mandate for promoting institutional change and arguments thus pass into more stable discursive configurations. 

About Us

Our research team was based in Prague, Czech Republic.

We are members of Institute of Sociological Studies (ISS), Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University. 



Head of the Project

Simon's PhD (University of Bradford, UK, 1998) was about the political meanings of independent cultural scenes and samizdat publications in communist Czechoslovakia. His post-doctoral research focused on interest representation, regional development and local democracy in Central Europe (University of the West of Scotland), e-society and e-health (University of Salford) and e-participation (University of Leeds). Subsequently he investigated (inter-) organisational knowledge creation and knowledge exchange (University of Leeds) and academic knowledge production and evaluation (Czech Academy of Sciences).

His new book, Discussing the News (Palgrave 2017) is about journalistic work in a participatory media environment, based on three years' ethnographic research in two Slovak daily newspapers (based at the Slovak Academy of Sciences).

"Simon Smith"

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Jiri Kabele is a professor at ISS. Among many topics, he has been studying social transformation processes, especially the proces of post-communist transformation and biographical sociology. Jiri Kabele was among the first who introduced and re-thought social constructivism in the Czech academic milieu. He is the author (among others) of the books Přerody : principy sociálního konstruování (1998, Karolinum), Z kapitalismu do socialismu a zpět. Teoretické vyšetřování přerodů Československa a České republiky (2005, Karolinum) or Jak vládli? Průvodce hierarchiemi reálného socialismu (co-authored by Martin Hajek, 2008, Brno: Doplněk). 

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Karel is a lecturer and researcher at ISS. His main research interests lie in interpretative policy analysis, discourse analysis, deliberative democracy, social inclusion and health policy.


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Tomas Dvorak followed the doctoral study program at ISS. During his masters and doctoral studies he focused on the topics of political sociology, political participation, voting behavior and theory of democracy. In his dissertation (The Rise of Direct Democracy in the Czech Republic: Sources, Use and Consequences) he focused on direct democracy and political participation in the Czech Republic. His dissertation thesis combines empirical research and theory that stems from participatory and deliberative theories of democracy. In the current project, he (together with Katerina Merklova), investigates breakthroughs of new political parties in a “stable” Czech political system as well as populist discourse in the Czech Republic.

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Katerina is a PhD candidate in political science at the Department of Political Science of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University. In her thesis, she studies discursive strategies of politicization, depoliticisation and repoliticisation when focusing on language used by political actors. Katerina spent one year at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris as a visiting young researcher and studied at Sciences Po Paris and George Washington University in Washington DC. She contributed to the book Policy Analysis in the Czech Republic (2016, Bristol Policy Press) with an analysis of expert advisory bodies in the Czech Republic. Within the project, she (together with Tomas Dvorak) investigates discursive and institutional breakthrough of new political parties into a “stable” Czech political system.​

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Pavel Kotlik is a PhD candidate at ISS and at the Interdisciplinary Research Institute for Science and Technology (IRIST) at the Augustin Cournot Doctoral School, University of Strasbourg. He works on science communication, public participation and governance regarding new technologies such as nanotechnology. This involves orientation towards multidisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity, in particular analysing the relationship between metaphors, narratives and technology development. His doctoral thesis project is a comparative study of nanotechnology mediation in the Czech Republic, France and the United Kingdom. He is the author of Politics of Technoscience: A Case Study of Nanospider (in 'Non-Humans and after in Social Science', Pavel Mervart Publishing House 2016).

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Petra A. Honová is a Ph.D. researcher in the Sociology Programme at Charles University, Faculty of Social Sciences. Her main research interests are civil society, political culture, participation, and social movements, especially from the point of view of pragmatic and cultural sociology. She received two Master’s degrees: 1) Sociology (Dynamics of Contemporary Societies) with a thesis on watchdog NGOs (“Guardians of public interests”), awarded by Josef Lux Prize 2013; 2) Public and Social Policy (thesis on the construction of participatory spaces in the case of urban planning). She spent an Erasmus semester at University of Vienna. Her forthcoming dissertation examines symbolic boundaries between political activism and formal politics in the Czech Republic. She also participates on GAČR projects “Civic engagement and the politics of health care” and “Transnational Populism and European Democracy”. 

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