This article offers a critical review of the main conceptual readings of resilience as a prominent policy paradigm in international development, security, and disaster management. Focusing on neoliberal, biopolitical, cybernetic, and postliberal understandings, it probes the possibilities for engaging in a socially transformative critique of resilience. In particular, the article asks how the resilience discourse polices critique in a way that includes certain forms of knowledge, such as indigenous, local, and everyday knowledge, while excluding abstract theorising. What is considered authoritative knowledge in the resilience discourse? And what are the possibilities for opposing resilience if it ‘metabolizes critique into its internal dynamic’, as Jeremy Walker and Melinda Cooper famously argued? How does critique turn from a tool to undermine dominant knowledge-power regimes into a motor of governance? The article demonstrates that the more seriously we engage with the underlying ontology of resilience, the more difficult it becomes to formulate a critique that is not incorporated into governance. As a possible way forward, the article discusses Luc Boltanski's pragmatist sociology of critique.
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