“Aftermath of a Crisis”: Manuel Castells and his colleagues tackling the crisis and its consequences

In this crisis, some people are trying to go back and other people are trying to discover what the future could be. What doesn’t work anymore is the present, for anyone. That’s why it’s Aftermath Time.” – Manuel Castells

Shortly after the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis, Manuel Castells – a prominent social scientist (specializing in communication, globalization and political economy) gathered a small group of international intellectuals and scholars (including Craig Calhoun, Michel Wieviorka, John B. Thompson, Rosalind Williams, Sarah Banet-Weiser, You-Tien Hsing, Terhi Rantanen and more) to ponder the crisis. the Aftermath NetworkWhile the crisis expanded, Castells named his group ‘The Aftermath Network‘ and it become a research program on the social consequences of the crisis. The thinkers participating in the network share the idea that this crisis is not just an  economic crisis, but also a social crisis, which is bringing about a fundamental transformation of societies at large. From 2008 – 2011, the group has been convening in Lisbon to analyze the crisis as it is unfolding. The name of the group is also a reference to the new world, which according to Castells,  will emerge from the ashes of the crisis.
Aftermath of a crisis” (2011) is an interesting documentary (directed by Bregtje van der Haak) in which the members of the network mull over the crisis, offering their bright insights on capitalism and contemporary society, characterized by growing insecurity and fear in which people are reacting both with anger and with alternative projects of hope. The movie (48 min) also hopefully argue that the new economic and social landscape is emerging from the ruins of global informational capitalism (not capitalism per se, but a particular form of capitalism) after its self-destruction. This is why it is called Aftermath, not the end of the crisis. “This is a new beginning”, stresses Manuel Castells, “The aftermath of the crisis is not only social devastation, it’s not only the political crisis, it’s not only Greece going down. It’s also an aftermath in the sense of a reconnection between society and the political system.”



  1. An interesting attempt to explain the present socio-economic and historical problem of the capitalist present society. However in my view, ( I am attempting my self to write an essay thinking in this
    phenomena of global social discontent of international capitalism). It is difficult for social thinkers and analysts to be neutral in an examination of the various socio-economic and cultural problem
    at present, disturbances which are consequences of multiples factors inside the system and outside
    the social network. i.e. financial insecurities for corruption or political crisis created by wrong financial management or imposition to fiscal treasures which are all affected by the depression or
    misbalances in the capital market by the artificial competence of new created ultramar markets,
    or concentration of capital under monopolies ruling a market affected by technological innovations.

    Historically, the capitalist system passed by stages, highest, medium and lowest, for centuries in its creation and consolidation, finally assuming a total control of the society, including political and
    cultural patterns, which were internalised by the ruling elites or group of power and transposing
    its social values to the masses. Until mid last century, the classical precept in social science
    was that the industrial proletariat will lead the human liberation from the slavery-salary and bourgeois domination, 1917 was an historical momentum of liberation of the human slavery,
    in theory it was accepted, in reality the utopia was impossible to fulfil and finally collapsed.

    The triumphant capitalism, in my opinion, was the real and aceptable answer in creating a free
    and democratic society in the Western Civilisation. Why is it that after nearly three decades the
    illusion of this fresh capitalism started to show its real character to oppress and to dominate
    without any social participation of the classics reformist actors, middle and labour classes?

    The present chaotic social economic and social environment is part of this new phase of this
    machinery to produce and to impose cultural values through its own publicity apparatus and
    media. The right answers to our present social, economic and cultural puzzle we must referrer
    to our own cycle of evolution in which societies were modelled by economic principle of the free market, false conceptions of stability, discriminations and abuses of power military and political,
    impositions of economic theories against the well being of the majority of the society, enforcing
    dogmatic beliefs, creating devastation in the periphery of the system and in its inter-social
    connections expressed in massive human transhumance with its disorganisation and dangerous
    climate of insecurity and contributing to the present social, and cultural chaos in Europe and in less effect in USA and around the globe.

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