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On Resilience

Book description

What does it mean to be resilient in a societal or in an international context? Where does resilience come from? From which discipline was it 'imported' into international relations (IR)? If a particular government employs the meaning of resilience to its own benefit, should scholars reject the analytical purchase of the concept of resilience as a whole? Does a government have the monopoly of understanding how resilience is defined and applied? This book addresses these questions. Even though resilience in global politics is not new, a major shift is currently happening in how we understand and apply resilience in world politics. Resilience is indeed increasingly theorised, rather than simply employed as a noun; it has left the realm of vocabulary and entered the terrain of concept. This book demonstrates the multiple origins of resilience, traces the diverse expressions of resilience in IR to various historical markers, and propose a theory of resilience in world politics.


‘Inter-disciplinary perspectives are talked up so often perhaps because they are so rarely carried off successfully. Bourbeau's book theorising resilience is one of these positive exceptions that marks a significant intervention in international relations scholarship, shedding important new light on vitally topical areas from migration, to terrorism, to climate change.'

Jason Sharman - Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations, University of Cambridge

‘Resilience seems to be today's buzzword in world politics - I see it everywhere. In this new book, Philippe Bourbeau offers a sophisticated theorisation of the concept of resilience, a fascinating case study on migrations, and many insightful suggestions for further research. His analysis helps us understand the many uses and abuses of the idea of resilience in contemporary international relations debates.'

Séverine Autesserre - Barnard College, Columbia University, author of Peaceland and The Trouble With the Congo

‘A timely and incisive theoretical intervention reintroducing the discipline of International Relations to the concept of resilience … A must-read for any serious student of international relations theory.’

Ayşe Zarakol - University of Cambridge

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