Joel T. Shelton – Diagnosing Europe: Greece, Macedonia, and the Meaning of Crisis


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Joel T. Shelton

Accounts of crisis in Europe have proliferated since late 2009. This article investigates the relationship between the diagnosis of crisis and the cohesion and enlargement of the ‘Eu- ropean project’ in the context of Southeastern Europe. The article adopts Michel Foucault’s understanding of diagnosis as a strategic activity of language in order to re-construct the diagnostic discourse in relation to ongoing events in Greece and the Republic of Mace- donia. Diagnostic practice produces accounts of crisis that are clinical, moralising, and pre- scriptive, affixing meanings to complex and overdetermined events in order that they can be acted upon. Diagnoses of the crises in Greece and Macedonia converge in their iden- tification of political and cultural features of the national political economy in need of ex- pert correction. The diagnosis of crisis emerges as an essential feature of European Union governmentality, which functions to delimit the bounds of political contestation in times of uncertainty and upheaval in favor of technocratic interventions.