The Value of Resilience: Securing life in the twenty-first century, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Value of Resilience

Securing life in the twenty-first century, 1st Edition

By Chris Zebrowski


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The Value of Resilience represents one of the first systematic studies of resilience in the field of security studies. At the turn of the twenty-first century, resilience has become a ‘buzz-word’ within fields as diverse as network engineering, ecosystems management, child psychology and military training programmes. Resilience has emerged as a solution to the common problematic of radical contingency experienced across these fields. At its most general level resilience is understood as the capacity to absorb, withstand and ‘bounce-back’ quickly and efficiently from a perturbation. It is considered to be both a natural property and a quality which can be improved within a broad array of complex systems.

Rather than treating resilience as either a unified concept or technique of governance, this book analyses resilience as an emergent security value. Utilizing a biopolitical analytic, it demonstrates that the value of resilience has appreciated alongside transformations in the order of power/knowledge enacted by political economies of security. Zebrowski argues that resilience was not lying in wait for the march of science to provide the conditions for its recognition. Nor was it concealed by the distortions of ideology which lifted with the culmination of the Cold War. There is nothing natural about resilience.

By drawing attention to the complex historical processes and significant governmental efforts required to make resilience possible, this book aims to open up a space through which the value of resilience may be more critically interrogated. It will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations, security studies and conflict resolution.


Chris Zebrowski's brilliant book, The Value of Resilience, offers an analytically accomplished and historically informed critique of the seemingly benign idea of resilience. It unsettles the naturalness of this pervasive concept, tracing its origins from the emergency government measures of WWI through to today's preparations for an uncertain but potentially catastrophic future. Written in an open and accessible style, The Value of Resilience is essential reading for specialists and non-specialists alike, interested in how we are governed, and what we can do about it. - Mark Duffield, Emeritus Professor, University of Bristol, UK

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Value of Resilience 1. State of Emergency 2. Protect and Survive 3. The Nature of Resilience 4. Securing Emergence 5. The Subject of Resilience Conclusion Bibliography

About the Author

Chris Zebrowski is a lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Loughborough University, UK.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

  • Jenny Edkins ( and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security