Archive | Vol. 7/2014 | No. 2
Editorial / Blum, Sabine [Autor:in] … – 2014
Blum, Sabine; Kaufmann, Stefan; Wichum, Ricky
On butterflies and nuclear reactors: media and politics of resilience at the IIASA
This article provides a historiographical reconstruction of the epistemological and media-cultural conditions of the concept of resilience as it has been developed by the Canadian ecologist Crawford S. Holling in the early 1970s. While older ecosystem models applied analytical techniques that focused on the stable equilibrium of ecosystems, Holling developed techniques of modeling, social gaming and assessment that allowed to learn about the complex and unpredictable characteristics of ecosystems and shifted the attention to the property of resilience. He created an environment that allowed to study the co-evolutionary development of social end ecological systems. It is shown how the concept of resilience has been further professionalized, challenged and coopted during the 1970s when Holling used to head an ecology project at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), a think tank in which scientists from East and West worked together to define the common problems of advanced societies and to find solutions to them. Here also lie the origins of Holling’s later important confrontation of engineering resilience and ecological resilience.
Resilience as an element of a sociology of expression
Hempel, Leon; Lorenz, Daniel F.
Resilience has gained the status of a new leading category for describing societies that increasingly consider themselves faced with crises and thus with uncertainty, vulnerability and susceptibility to failure. Considering the predominant discourse, however, one gets the impression that resilience as a phenomenon of survival under adverse conditions has been displaced into the background. As a mere formula the term is used by a normative, political program of enactment, decreeing resilience in order to exercise control. The phenomenon vanishes the more it is discursively rendered or fixed – whether by science or by politics. This unsatisfactory situation challenges us to ask whether it is possible to theorize resilience from a different viewpoint than that of the current discursive formation together with its critique. The discourse itself may point to a way back to the phenomenon of resilience. Starting with the so-called ‘ecologization of thought‘, resilience is conceptualized as an element of a sociology of expression. Resilience is an emergent phenomenon of individuation and subjectification arising in vibrant assemblages which form these processes and thus resilience itself. While we understand the discourse itself as such an assemblage, we will thus follow resilience in three further constellations – in everyday life, in exceptional circumstances and in protest. However, in all of these contexts resilience is not restricted to human actors, but encompasses all kinds of imaginable ecological, social, technical, and mental entities.
Resilience as process of transformative autogenesis : steps towards a sociological theory
Endreß, Martin; Rampp, Benjamin
The article analyses the possibilities and advantages of understanding resilience as a special type of social processes and the outcomes of its incorporation into sociological theory. After discussing the classical sociological concepts of adaptation, adjustment, autopoiesis, and autogenesis, the concept of “transformative autogenesis” is introduced to illustrate the specificity of resilience processes.
The boundaries of building societal resilience: responsibilization and dwiss civil defense in the Cold War
Roth, Florian; Prior, Tim
Resilience has become a dominant paradigm in a wide range of risk and security agendas. In this article we describe the modes in which resilience approaches in the domain of civil protection responsibilize social actors and citizens to ‘do their part’. We also examine some of the problems such attempts to ‘make the people resilient’ might raise. Specifically, by using an historical case study of the Swiss civil defense system as example illustrating how a political agenda can be used to proliferate individual responsibility for societal safety and security through instruction, we argue that measures labeled as ‘resilience-building’ can easily fail to meet their stated goals. Policies aiming at building resilience in a top-down fashion risk becoming counterproductive, especially if public policy aims to persuade or ‘nudge’ individual perceptions and behavior, as people feel manipulated or scared. It appears imperative to address the political and ethical boundaries of resilience-building efforts in order to understand and improve the effectiveness and democratic legitimacy of current resilience policies.
Klaus Thoma (ed.): Resilien-Tech. „Resilience-by-Design“: Strategie für die technologischen Zukunftsthemen / Dunn Cavelty, Myriam [Autor:in] – 2014
Dunn Cavelty, Myriam
Eva Horn: Zukunft als Katastrophe / Feustel, Robert [Autor:in] – 2014
(Mis)readings of Luhmann? Reply to Robert Seyfert
This reply to Robert Seyfert’s essay “The Problem of Order and the Specter of Chaos” (http://ojs.ub.uni-freiburg.de/behemoth/article/view/776/706) scrutinizes Seyfert’s critique of Systems Theory and highlights some misunderstandings that, in the author’s opinion, affect Seyfert’s critique of Niklas Luhmann. Two major points are addressed: Hobbes’ alleged importance for Luhmann, and Seyfert’s reading of Luhmann. A critical response by Robert Seyfert to Moritz Mutter’s reply can also be found in this issue of Behemoth.
Critical response to Moritz Mutter
This critical response answers to Moritz Mutter’s reply “(Mis)readings of Luhmann? Reply to Robert Seyfert” in this issue of Behemoth which scrutinizes Seyfert’s critique of Systems Theory in the last issue Vol. 7, No. 1 (http://ojs.ub.uni-freiburg.de/behemoth/article/view/776/706).