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Resilience

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jonathan Pugh

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This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a book chapter that has been published in its final definitive form by Duke University Press, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Abstract

The specific focus of this chapter is community resilience to environmental precarity. Particular attention will be paid to the shifting nature of resilience and environmental precarity debates in Western international intervention and academic literature. The main critique of resilience in what follows is that resilience tends to shift the focus of attention away from the perpetrators to the victims of environmental precarity. Resilience frameworks often narrowly focus on developing the resilient capabilities of the victims of environmental precarity themselves rather than engaging in the more politically charged stakes, and deeper structural conditions, which brought about environmental precarity in the first place. In tracking the longer history and evolution of resilience paradigms over time, the chapter brings such concerns right up to the present by discussing how this situation is potentially being made worse by recent debates in Western academia and international policy. While often well-meaning, these debates now increasingly celebrate the resilient capacities of nonmodern and Indigenous peoples. Not only does this run the risk of repeating history by once again reductively romanticizing the Indigenous subject. It can also become a way of obfuscating the West’s responsibility for global environmental change, as well as downplaying the importance of alternative political imaginaries from around the world that do not wish to reduce human lives to merely being resilient. The final parts of the chapter ground such concerns through the prism of the small island, arguably the emblematic figure of resilience debates today.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Pugh J

Editor(s): Das,V; Fassin,D

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Words and Worlds: A Lexicon for dark times

Year: 2021

Pages: 225-242

Print publication date: 01/06/2021

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Publisher: Duke University Press

URL: https://www.dukeupress.edu/words-and-worlds

Notes: The specific focus of this chapter is community resilience to environmental precarity. Particular attention will be paid to the shifting nature of resilience and environmental precarity debates in Western international intervention and academic literature. The main critique of resilience in what follows is that resilience tends to shift the focus of attention away from the perpetrators to the victims of environmental precarity. Resilience frameworks often narrowly focus on developing the resilient capabilities of the victims of environmental precarity themselves rather than engaging in the more politically charged stakes, and deeper structural conditions, which brought about environmental precarity in the first place. In tracking the longer history and evolution of resilience paradigms over time, the chapter brings such concerns right up to the present by discussing how this situation is potentially being made worse by recent debates in Western academia and international policy. While often well-meaning, these debates now increasingly celebrate the resilient capacities of nonmodern and Indigenous peoples. Not only does this run the risk of repeating history by once again reductively romanticizing the Indigenous subject. It can also become a way of obfuscating the West’s responsibility for global environmental change, as well as downplaying the importance of alternative political imaginaries from around the world that do not wish to reduce human lives to merely being resilient. The final parts of the chapter ground such concerns through the prism of the small island, arguably the emblematic figure of resilience debates today.

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781478014164


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