2023 12-06

Sul concetto di Crisi, un articolo di Reinhart Koselleck

Nell’ambito della ricerca sociale, la parola crisi potrebbe facilmente essere descritta come una delle parole più usate e al tempo stesso abusate se non addirittura confuse. La straordinaria abbondanza di ricerche riferibili ai campi più svariati in cui si richiama apertamente la dimensione della crisi o in cui si descrive uno stato di cose come ormai entrato in crisi può offrire una prima bozza del quadro di contesto del tempo in cui viviamo. Pubblichiamo di seguito un articolo di Reinhart Koselleck sul concetto di crisi e sul suo utilizzo.


For the Greeks the term "crisis" had relatively clearly demarcated meanings in the spheres of law, medicine, and theology. The concept imposed choices between stark alternatives—right or wrong, salvation or damnation, life or death. Until the early modern period the medical meaning, which continued to be used technically, remained dominant virtually without interruption. From the seventeenth century on, the term, used as a metaphor, expanded into politics, economics, history, psychology. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the term once again took on religious and theological connotations; but by its application to the events of the French and American revolutions, the apocalyptic vision of the last judgment now acquired a secular meaning. Because of its metaphorical flexibility, the concept gains in importance; it enters into every day language; it becomes a central catchword (Schlagwort). In our century, there is virtually no area of life that has not been examined and interpreted through this concept with its inherent demand for decisions and choices.

Applied to history, "crisis," since 1780, has become an expression of a new sense of time which both indicated and intensified the end of an epoch. Perceptions of such epochal change can be measured by the increased use of crisis. But the concept remains as multi-layered and ambiguous as the emotions attached to it. Conceptualized as chronic, "crisis" can also indicate a state of greater or lesser permanence, as in a longer or shorter transition towards something better or worse or towards something altogether different. "Crisis" can announce a recurring event, as in economics, or become an existential term of analysis, as in psychology and theology. All these possible uses can be applied to history itself.

Prosegui la lettura


Koselleck, R., & Richter, M. W. (2006). Crisis. Journal of the History of Ideas, 67(2), 357–400. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30141882