Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Over the past decade the concept of ‘resilience’ has been mobilised across an increasingly wide range of policy arenas. For example, it has featured prominently within recent discussions on the nature of warfare, the purpose of urban and regional planning, the effectiveness of development policies, the intent of welfare reform and the stability of the international financial system. The term’s origins can be traced back to the work of the ecologist Crawford S. Holling and his formulation of a science of complexity. This paper reflects on the origins of these ideas and their travels from the field of natural resource management, which it now dominates, to contemporary social practices and policy arenas. It reflects on the ways in which a lexicon of complex adaptive systems, grounded in an epistemology of limited knowledge and uncertain futures, seeks to displace ongoing ‘dependence’ on professionals by valorising self-reliance and responsibility as techniques to be applied by subjects in the making of the resilient self. In so doing, resilience is being mobilised to govern a wide range of threats and sources of uncertainty, from climate change, financial crises and terrorism, to the sustainability of development, the financing of welfare and providing for an aging population. As such, ‘resilience’ risks becoming a measure of its subjects’ ‘fitness’ to survive in what are pre-figured as natural, turbulent orders of things.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages10
    Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2015
    EventSpatializing Political Thought: A Lexical Workshop 2015 - Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
    Duration: 25 May 201527 May 2015


    WorkshopSpatializing Political Thought: A Lexical Workshop 2015
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • resilience
    • Governance

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Political Science and International Relations


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