This Handbook examines the study of failure in social sciences, its manifestations in the contemporary world, and the modalities of dealing with it – both in theory and in practice. It draws together a comprehensive approach to failing, and invisible forms of cancelling out and denial of future perspectives.

Underlining critical mechanisms for challenging and reimagining norms of success in contemporary society, it allows readers to understand how contemporary regimes of failure are being formed and institutionalized in relation to policy and economic models, such as neo-liberalism. While capturing the diversity of approaches in framing failure, it assesses the conflations and shifts which have occurred in the study of failure over time.

Intended for scholars who research processes of inequality and invisibility, this Handbook aims to formulate a critical manifesto and activism agenda for contemporary society. Presenting an integrated view about failure, the Handbook will be an essential reading for students in sociology, social theory, anthropology, international relations and development research, organization theory, public policy, management studies, queer theory, disability studies, sports, and performance research.

part 1|85 pages

Critical Failure Studies in the Making

chapter 3|15 pages

Entrepreneurial Failure Contextualized

Sociocultural Approaches

chapter 4|14 pages

Fear of Failure in Athletes

Fanning the Fire of Sport Desire or Burning Out?

chapter 5|13 pages

Career Failure

A Sociological Perspective

chapter 7|15 pages

From Varieties of Failure to Failure Judgments

The Sociology of Valuation and Failure Studies

part 2|98 pages

Failure Regimes and Power

chapter 8|12 pages

Failed Identities

On the Processes and Meanings of Unformed Alternate Selves

chapter 10|10 pages

Successful Failure

chapter 11|13 pages

The Theatre of Failure

Social Media's Role in Demonstrating Mundane Disruption

chapter 13|15 pages

Foreign Policy Failure

A Narrative Analysis

chapter 14|15 pages

Valuing Plurality

Objectivist and Interpretivist Approaches to the Study of Mistakes and Failures in International Relations

part 3|103 pages

Restoring, Learning, and Attributing Blame for Failure

chapter 15|14 pages

Before Breakdown, after Repair

The Art of Maintenance

chapter 16|14 pages

Cloud Backup and Restore

The Infrastructure of Digital Failure

chapter 18|14 pages

Beyond Policy Accidents

Learning the Lessons of Policy Failures

chapter 19|14 pages

Market Failures

chapter 20|18 pages

Preventing Major Disasters

Success and Failure as Two Sides of the Same Coin

chapter 21|12 pages

Blame Games

Stories of Crises, Causes, and Culprits

part 4|91 pages

Failure Trouble and Resistance in Neoliberalism

chapter 23|16 pages

The Material Ecologies of Policy Failure

Ruptures of Bodies and of State

chapter 24|17 pages

Financialization and Failure

Lessons from the Anxious University

chapter 25|16 pages

Market Failures and Failed Marketization

Neoliberalism, Development, and Poverty

chapter 26|11 pages

Failing the States

The Fragility of the State-Failure Paradigm

chapter 27|12 pages

Neoliberalism, Policy Failures, and the COVID-19 Crisis

Going beyond Hirschman's Fracasomanía

part 5|90 pages

Post-Failure or Reimagined Failure?

chapter 28|11 pages

Experiments as Successful Failures

chapter 29|7 pages

How Science Fails Successfully

chapter 31|13 pages

Cripistemologies of the Body

Knowing through Disability

chapter 32|22 pages

Beyond Failure

Queer Theory's Fallibilities

chapter 33|12 pages

Gravity Matters

A Meditation on Falling and Failing

chapter 34|13 pages

Crashing to Earth

Redefining Failure in a Time of Precarity