Pragmatism and Political Crisis Management
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Pragmatism and Political Crisis Management

Principle and Practical Rationality During the Financial Crisis

Christopher Ansell and Martin Bartenberger

Crisis management has become one of the core challenges facing governments, but successful crisis response depends on effective public leadership. Building on insights from Pragmatist philosophy, this deeply nuanced book provides guidance and direction for public leaders tackling the most challenging tasks of the 21st century.
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Chapter 4: Pragmatist political crisis management

Christopher Ansell and Martin Bartenberger


Building on four main building blocks of a Pragmatist theory of crisis management - anti-dualism, fallibilism, experimentalism and deliberation - this chapter develops a model of Pragmatist political crisis management, further elaborating it by contrasting it with principle-guided political crisis management. A principle is defined as a fixed belief (or set of beliefs) that is closed to new experiences or arguments and that leaves little space for doubt. Principle-guided political crisis management relies on these fixed beliefs when making decisions or making meaning in the face of uncertainty, while Pragmatist political crisis management regards belief as fallible and subject to on-going revision through experimentation and deliberation. The chapter draws out the empirical expectations that Pragmatist and principle-guided approaches have for crisis decision making and meaning making in order to guide research in subsequent chapters.

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