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Resilience, Hardship and Social Conditions


This paper provides a critical assessment of the term ‘resilience’ – and its highly agent-centric conceptualisation – when applied to how individuals and households respond to hardship. We provide an argument for social conditions to be embedded into the framework of resilience analysis. Drawing on two different perspectives in social theory, namely the structure-agent nexus and path dependency, we aim to demonstrate that the concept of resilience, if understood in isolation from the social conditions within which it may or may not arise, can result in a number of problems. This includes misidentification of resilience, ideological exploitation of the term and inability to explain intermittence in resilience.

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Journal of Social Policy
  • ISSN: 0047-2794
  • EISSN: 1469-7823
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-social-policy
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