Resilience has become a central concept in government policy understandings over the last decade. In our complex, global and interconnected world, resilience appears to be the policy ‘buzzword’ of choice, alleged to be the solution to a wide and ever-growing range of policy issues. This book analyses the key aspects of resilience-thinking and highlights how resilience impacts upon traditional conceptions of governance.

This concise and accessible book investigates how resilience-thinking adds new insights into how politics (both domestically and internationally) is understood to work and how problems are perceived and addressed; from educational training in schools to global ethics and from responses to shock events and natural disasters to long-term international policies to promote peace and development. This book also raises searching questions about how resilience-thinking influences the types of knowledge and understanding we value and challenges traditional conceptions of social and political processes.

It sets forward a new and clear conceptualisation of resilience, of use to students, academics and policy-makers, emphasising the links between the rise of resilience and awareness of the complex nature of problems and policy-making.

chapter 1|16 pages


The rise of resilience

part I|54 pages


chapter 2|27 pages

Governing Complexity

chapter 3|25 pages


Putting life to work

part II|72 pages

Resilience and the international

chapter 4|21 pages

The Politics of Limits

The rise of complexity in peacebuilding

chapter 5|26 pages

The ‘Everyday’ Policy Solution

Culture, from limit to resource

chapter 6|23 pages

A New Global Ethic

The transformative power of the embedded subject

part III|86 pages

The politics of resilience

chapter 7|17 pages

Revealing the Public

The reality of the event and the banality of evil

chapter 8|19 pages

The Democracy of Participation

chapter 9|21 pages

The Poverty of Post-Humanism

chapter 10|27 pages


Resilience, the promise of complexity