Summer cover

Christopher Ansell's course



Christopher ANSELL (University of California, Berkeley)


Christopher Ansell is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.  His research focuses on understanding how public institutions handle risk, uncertainty, and turbulence. He is the author or editor of more than ten books, including The Protective State (Cambridge Element, 2019), Pragmatism and Political Crisis Management: Principle and Practical Rationality during the Financial Crisis (with Martin Bartenberger; Edward Elgar, 2019) and Governance in Turbulent Times (with Jarle Trondal and Morten Øgård; Oxford University Press, 2017). He has published in the fields of organization studies, public administration, governance and policy studies and his current interests include risk regulation, crisis management, public health, and environmental protection. He is currently the Director of Berkeley’s Center for Catastrophic Risk Management.


Course: The Politics and Policy of Crisis and Risk


This course explores how crisis and risk shape policy and policymaking and, reciprocally, how policies shape our ability to respond to and manage crises and risks.  The course begins with an examination of different types of crises (e.g., creeping, transboundary, compound, etc.) and risks (e.g., systemic, catastrophic, existential, etc.) and their implications for public policy.  The course then explores the politics of crisis and risk, examining how claims about crisis and risk can galvanize or derail policymaking and influence problem definition and policy design.  We will also consider the relationship between crisis and risk, on the one hand, and policy failure and the politics of blame, on the other, and then touch on some grander themes such as the “protective state” “risk society” and debates about the relationship between crisis and emergency. We will then investigate the strategic and institutional issues that arise in preparing for, responding to, and managing crises and risks. Here we will explore key debates in the crisis and risk management literatures, focusing on topics such as preparedness, precaution, resilience, reliability and robustness.

The course will adopt a comparative and multilevel perspective and draw on examples and research from different policy sectors.



Thank you for your message. The IPPA team will get back to you shortly. You first need to login here.
We use cookies to ensure the proper functioning of our website and some tracking statistics (Learn more).