Genealogies of resilience: From systems ecology to the political economy of crisis adaptation

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Journal Article
Security Dialogue, 2011, 42 (2), pp. 143 - 160
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The concept of 'resilience' was first adopted within systems ecology in the 1970s, where it marked a move away from the homeostasis of Cold War resource management toward the far-from-equilibrium models of second-order cybernetics or complex systems theory. Resilience as an operational strategy of risk management has more recently been taken up in financial, urban and environmental security discourses, where it reflects a general consensus about the necessity of adaptation through endogenous crisis. The generalization of complex systems theory as a methodology of power has ambivalent sources. While the redefinition of the concept can be directly traced to the work of the ecologist Crawford S. Holling, the deployment of complex systems theory is perfectly in accord with the later philosophy of the Austrian neoliberal Friedrich Hayek. This ambivalence is reflected in the trajectory of complex systems theory itself, from critique to methodology of power. © The Author(s) 2011.
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