Resilience, resistance, infrapolitics and enmeshment

Bourbeau, P. & Ryan, C., 1-Mar-2018, In : European Journal of International Relations. 24, 1, p. 221-239 9 p.

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A great deal has been written in the International Relations literature about the role of resilience in our social world. One of the central debates in the scholarship concerns the relationship between resilience and resistance, which several scholars consider to be one of mutual exclusivity. For many theorists, an individual or a society can either be resilient or resistant, but not both. In this article, we argue that this understanding of the resilience–resistance connection suffers from three interrelated problems: it treats resilience and resistance as binary concepts rather than processes; it presents a simplistic conception of resilient subjects as apolitical subjects; and it eschews the ‘transformability’ aspect of resilience. In a bid to resolve these issues, the article advocates for the usefulness of a relational approach to the processes of resilience and resistance, and suggests an approach that understands resilience and resistance as engaged in mutual assistance rather than mutual exclusion. The case of the Palestinian national liberation movement illustrates our set of arguments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-239
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of International Relations
Issue number1
Early online date17-Feb-2017
Publication statusPublished - 1-Mar-2018



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