Paradoxes of Resilience: A Review of the World Disasters Report 2016
‘Resilience’, wrote Mark Neocleous in 2013, ‘has in the last decade become one of the key political categories of our time. It falls easily from the mouths of politicians, a variety of state departments are funding research into it, urban planners are now obliged to take it into consideration, and academics are falling over themselves to conduct research on it’ (Neocleous, 2013: 3). This is one of the few points of agreement in the literature around resilience: it is a big word with big implications. In fact, Neocleous put it relatively mildly. Resilience has reached beyond politicians, state departments, urban planners and academics to capture the imagination of psychotherapists, child development experts, ecologists and security forces. ‘Much like the concept of globalization that rose to popularity in the 1980s and 1990s’, concluded a recent issue of Politics, ‘resilience seems to carry a productive ambiguity that both resists exact definition and allows for a spectrum of interactions and engagements between policy and the everyday’ (Brassett et al., 2013: 221; Pugh, 2014). One thing is clear: resilience has an extensive reach. It is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that it has begun to penetrate the humanitarian system. The 2016 World Disasters Report (WDR) Resilience: Saving Lives Today, Investing for Tomorrow is a good illustration, making a sustained case for resilience.