MetaTOC stay on top of your field, easily

Resilience and the Autotelic Subject: Toward a Critique of the Societalization of Security

International Political Sociology

Published online on


In discourses of resilience, there is a clear assumption that governments need to assume a more proactive engagement with society. This proactive engagement is understood to be preventive, not in the sense of preventing future disaster or catastrophe but in preventing the disruptive or destabilizing effects of such an event. In this sense, the key to security programs of resilience is the coping capacities of citizens, the ability of citizens to respond, or adapt, to security crises. The subject or agent of security thereby shifts from the state to society and to the individuals constitutive of it. In many ways, this shift away from a sovereign‐based understanding to a social or societal understanding of security, under the guidance or goal of resilience, could be understood as a deliberalizing discourse, one which divests security responsibilities from the level of the state down to the level of the citizen. This article seeks to consider some of the genealogical aspects of discourses of resilience as a societal or agent‐based understanding of security (particularly focusing on the work of Friedrich von Hayek and Anthony Giddens) in order to work through some of the consequences of the state's divestment of security responsibilities for traditional liberal framings of state–society relations.