Thinking in an Emergency

Front Cover
W.W. Norton & Company, 2011 - Political Science - 157 pages

The author of the landmark study The Body in Pain, Elaine Scarry offers a stunning and original analysis of the “claim of emergency” that modern governments have used to undermine democracy and increase executive power. For sixty years, democratic governments have bypassed legal provisions concerning the declaration of war, the use of torture, civilian surveillance, and nuclear weapons. In the desire for swift national action, we citizens devalue thinking and ignore ways to check government power, plunging our countries into a precarious state between monarchy and democracy.

Drawing on the work of philosophers, neuroscientists, and artists, Scarry here proves decisively that thinking and rapid action are compatible. Practices that we dismiss as mere habit and protocol instead represent rigorous, effective modes of thought that we must champion in periods of crisis. Scarry's bold claim on behalf of fundamental democratic principles will enliven and enrich the ongoing debate about leadership in times of emergency.

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User Review  - clarkisaacs - LibraryThing

How to react in a critical situation is what Elaine Scarry’s new book “Thinking in an Emergency” concerns. There are “four models of emergency thinking” to illustrate the ability to carry out life ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Elaine Scarry is the Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University. Her book The Body in Pain was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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