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The Evolution of Resilience

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Authors:

Peter Rogers

Source:

Connections: The Quarterly Journal, Volume 19, Issue 3, p.13-32 (2020)

Keywords:

assemblage, positive critique, post-structuralism, problematization, resilience

Abstract:

The concept of resilience has roots in many disciplines, making the pursuit of a unified theory very attractive but also very difficult. Yet this has not stopped scholars and politicians from attempting to claim resili­ence as their flagship concept and build a canon for the 21st century around it. This tendency to reduce or totalize resilience has spawned a host of taxonomies, each seeking to offer the final word on the definitional de­bate. I argue that this desire to create a unified theory of resilience misap­plies the concept, ignores the dynamics of its emergence and the poly­semic nature of its use in theory, policy, and practice. This malleability makes resilience at once both a very attractive logic for dealing with un­certainty and a dangerous pathway towards embedding untempered algo­rithmic systems of coercive prediction into the governance of everyday life. In understanding the emergence of the resilience concept, one must ap­preciate both the positive and negative potential of this flexible and adap­tive notion. I close by suggesting that resilience has gained such traction in recent years in no small part because it represents a shift in the onto-poli­tics of our time, but that we must be careful about which type of resilience gets enacted.

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