Resilience: another buzzword or an opening for more sustainable (EU) governance?

Resilience: another buzzword or an opening for more sustainable (EU) governance?

Tuesday, 3 December 2019 - 5:00pm to 6:45pm
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HR
Professor Elena Korosteleva (University of Kent, Professor of International Politics, Jean Monnet Chair of European Politics and Director of Global Europe Centre)
Professor Kalypso Nicolaidis (St Antony's College, Oxford)
Dr Heidi Maurer (Politics and International Relations, Oxford)
ESC Core Seminar Series

Resilience seems to have become ‘the everyday’ covering almost all aspects of our daily lives, and pervading the policy agenda of major international institutions. However, despite the upsurge in its popularity, are we sure we understand resilience well enough to make full use of its arresting potential? Is resilience more about ‘agency’, its ‘inherent strength’ and inside-out response to adversity – and if so, then how we can develop its full capacity? Or is it more about investing in critical infrastructures through knowledge-sharing and financial inducement? If the latter, can resilience be engineered outside-in by way of bringing external solutions to local communities in need of resilience? Tackling these fundamentals is important, and pertinent, as these would define how we govern today, and how we can make existing and future orders more sustainable and cooperative. This paper argues that we need to understand resilience as both ‘a quality’ and an ‘analytic of governance’ that prioritises ‘self-organisation’, ‘the local’ and ‘the person’, to enable local communities to build a (good) life they have reason to value. This presentation will discuss the challenges facing both the policy world today and resilience scholarship, to make better use of resilience, as a concept and a regime of governance for the future. This discussion is premised on the forthcoming Special Issue ‘The EU and Resilience-thinking in times of change: reshaping the agenda’ (CSF 2020). 

The Chair for this seminar will be: Professor Kalypso Nicolaidis (St Antony's College, Oxford).

The Discussant will be: Dr Heidi Maurer (Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford).

Elena Korosteleva is Professor of International Politics and Jean Monnet Chair of European Politics, at the School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent. Elena is an LSE IDEAS and College of Europe (Natolin) Visiting Professor; executive member of the GLOBSEC IAB and co-founder/ co-director of the Global Europe Centre at Kent. She is presently the Principal Investigator of the COMPASS project (2017-21), a six-partner international consortium, supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund UK, with a focus on adaptive governance and capacity-building across wider Eurasia. Elena’s research looks at the concepts of external governance, resilience, ‘good life’, identity, and peoplehood. She is the author of 9 books and over 70 articles. Contact email:

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