Political communication in and about crises – Introduction to the Thematic Section
The financial crisis in Europe and the United States, the war in Syria, the refugee crisis, and terrorist attacks – crises seem to permeate everyday life and make headlines. Crisis as a central, persistent element of modern life has been the subject of scholarly discussions in various disciplines. Political communication research approaches crisis from two different angles. First, political crisis communication research deals with communication about political crises, such as political upheavals, protests, and subversions of governments and presidents. One of the most recent examples of a political crisis comes from Venezuela, where political changes and problems, such as corruption and undemocratic governance, have brought about economic problems (hyperinflation), a rising crime rate, hunger, and disease. Second, many other types of crises involve political communication because they also lead to policy reactions or at least discussion on their political aspects. For example, natural disasters typically provoke public discussion on the roles of political organizations and actors before, during, and after these disasters and the consequences for policy.