Conclusion: Resisting Neo-Liberalism

  • John G. Glenn
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


This chapter concludes that resilience thinking should be seen as part of a wider practice of neo-liberal enframing, one which typically involves a process of responsibilization. In the particular case of catastrophes, the emphasis is on the post hoc adaptability of individuals/communities and the various capacities they possess to enable them to bounce back from such shocks. Several issues arise with regard to the economy from such enframing. First, there is an implicit levelling of responsibility, where individuals and communities are expected to mine their own resources and capacities in order to survive such shocks. Resilience thinking has little to say with regard to social structures/agency concerning positions of power and the benefits that accrue from such positions as well as responsibility for the policies that greatly exacerbate the contradictions inherent within the capitalist system. In practice, this is clearly seen in the current austerity policies implemented across Europe. Those least responsible for the crisis have felt the greatest economic deprivation. The aforementioned ‘naturalistic fallacy’ with regard to the economic order also promotes such a perspective. By viewing finance as something akin to an organic homeostatic system, a social construction permeated by power relations and agents who have an interest in maintaining the economic order is rendered agentless and self-perpetuating.

The chapter therefore argues that a more fruitful avenue is to examine the current period in terms of power and resistance, rather than resilience (although one must be resilient in order to survive crises and resist). For Foucault, although there is a multitude of multifaceted relations of power and resistance, he argues that we can identity three main types of struggles—‘either against forms of domination (ethnic, social, and religious); against forms of exploitation which separate individuals from what they produce; or against that which ties the individual to himself and submits him to others in this way (struggles against subjection, against forms of subjectivity and submission)’ (Foucault, Crit Inq 8(4):777–795, 1982, p. 781).


Enframing Economic reforms Resilience thinking Social stratification Resistance 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • John G. Glenn
    • 1
  1. 1.Politics and International RelationsUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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