How does a crisis come into being, exist and pass? In response to these classical questions of the social sciences, this issue of Tracés takes a step aside by examining "states of crisis", i.e., the scholarly and ordinary procedures by which a given situation, in different social worlds, is qualified as "critical" and objectified as a crisis. Bringing together contributions from researchers in the humanities and social sciences, interviews with war reporters and a diplomat, and previously unpublished translations by authors and political activists, it analyses the process of qualification – a set of epistemic, practical and normative operations – of a given configuration as a political crisis, which it approaches by linking the analysis of critical conjunctures and the history of the concept of crisis. The dossier is structured around three themes. The first deals with the concept of crisis, and the way in which it imposes a singular relationship to temporality, constructed by different fields of knowledge (philosophy, political arithmetic, economics, political analysis) since Greek Antiquity. The second concerns the way in which the concept is re-appropriated by contemporary actors, through specific qualification operations linked to social experience. The third concerns the singular methods of explanation and prediction that the qualification of crisis makes possible in different social worlds.