Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Taming ‘Black Swans’: A Schmittian Perspective on State-led Crisis Management

Jones, Matthew


Matthew Jones



Using a design-thinking approach to state-led crisis management, this thesis seeks to resolve the contemporary problem of Black Swans; that is, crises that are unprecedented, unexpected, unpredictable, and uncertain.
Due to their nature and composition, Black Swans cause a significant increase in state fragility (Introduction). Despite this, Black Swans remain understudied within existing literature on crisis management (Chapter One). This thesis argues that Black Swans cause a significant increase in state fragility because the strategies governments and leaders currently use to recognise and contain them are sub-optimal (Chapter Two). A resolution is found by drawing resources from the legal-political theory that Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) developed between 1918 and 1933 (Chapter Three). In particular, Schmitt’s concepts of “the exception” and “sovereign dictatorship” are used to devise new strategies that enable governments and leaders to recognise and contain Black Swans optimally (Chapter Four & Chapter Five).
This thesis articulates and defends a new way for constitutional states to manage Black Swans. It achieves this end by engaging in an innovative and revealing dialogue between crisis management studies and Schmittian studies (Conclusion). Unlike previous analyses, this thesis establishes that: (i) detailed strategies can be prescribed to manage Black Swans; and (ii) Carl Schmitt’s legal-political theory can be used to resolve problems at the forefront of contemporary crisis management.


Jones, M. (2024). Taming ‘Black Swans’: A Schmittian Perspective on State-led Crisis Management. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jan 5, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jan 18, 2024
Keywords Politics
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Politics
University of Hull
Award Date Jan 3, 2024


Thesis (1.7 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2023 Matthew Peter Jones. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Downloadable Citations