Radical Philosophy has recently been the venue for a short exchange of views on the topic of resilience. Let’s see what was said.
Mark Neocleous led off with a piece on “resisting resilience.” In his view, “resilience is by definition against resistance. Resilience wants acquiescence.” He is, therefore, against resilience. In response, David Chandler, who is editor of a new journal called Resilience argues that critique is not best served by equating resilience to neoliberalism. And in response to that, Neocleous says that Chandler didn’t engage with his critique and only wants to defend his new journal and that resilience blunts socialist and feminist thought (p. 59).
Not much of this helps us get anywhere. If the agenda is to make something useful from resilience (eg., by critiquing its support for the production of neoliberalism) then we need to use the concept to get at the primary question of ensuring human well-being. What if resilience, or our ability to withstand shocks and stresses in the long-run, could be used to say that shocks and stresses from financial crises of capital accumulation need to be eliminated? Or that sustainable human well-being requires a military a third of its current size?
In other words why don’t we start with human well-being (democratic, just, equal society, etc.) and identify in a consensual manner how to sustain that, with built-in resistance to attempts to take it away (ie., resilience)?