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Lunch Lecture - Philippe Hamman & Aurélie Choné

Concepts, Discourses and Uses of Resilience in Literary and Social Science Studies
Wann 14.01.2021
von 12:15 bis 13:00
Wo Zoom-Meeting
Teilnehmer Universitätsoffen/ open to university members
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Concepts, Discourses and Uses of Resilience in Literary and Social Science Studies

Literary Studies

Resilience has been most frequently defined as positive resistance to adversity. Modern resilience studies originated among psychologists and psychiatrists. Researchers in Literary Studies have recently started using the concept and applying it in different areas.

  • Some works focus on collective trauma, particularly ecological disasters and their consequences (environmental refugees, migration, etc.) and on the individual and collective resilience of human beings and nature itself. The fields of Literary Studies concerned are particularly Ecocriticism, Cultural and Literary Plant and Animal Studies, in connection with the transdisciplinary approaches developed in the Environmental Humanities such as Ecofeminism, Ecopsychology and Ecospirituality.
  • Other works study literature itself as a way of promoting resilience and are inspired by the vision of literature as cultural ecology (Zapf); applications are possible in many fields, like Didactics or Decolonial Ecocriticism, which analyse the potential of a person or a community to recover from an individual or collective trauma thanks to literary practice.


Social Sciences

If we define resilience as “the capacity of a system to accommodate change and still retain the same function and structure” (Margaret Robertson, 2017, Dictionary of Sustainability, Routledge, p. 122), what does sociology tell us about this concept?

As an overview, the presentation is organized in 3 steps:

  • Rethinking resilience: Genealogies and circulation of the concept to the social sciences: From individual resilience to systemic and social resilience, we can notice a double balancing between the physical and natural sciences and the human and social sciences, and between individual and collective resilience, so that critical analysis of resilience emerged in sociology.
  • Resilience from a social science perspective today, as embedded in sustainability studies (i.e. can resilience be seen as an alternative to the ‘sustainable development’ paradigm in times of crisis? And what about retro-innovations, as social processes in the making?).
  • The issue of context-sensitive uses: critical reflexivity and action-oriented views. The examples of urban resilience studies since Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and of the covid-19 pandemic.