Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
The politics of resilience: A qualitative analysis of resilience theory as an environmental discourse
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2008 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

During recent years, resilience theory – originally developed in systems ecology – has advanced as a new approach to sustainable development. However, it is still more of an academic theory than a discourse informing environmental politics. The aim of this essay is to study resilience theory as a potential environmental discourse in the making and to outline the political implications it might induce. To gain a more comprehensive knowledge of resilience theory, I study it in relation to already existing environmental discourses. Following earlier research on environmental discourses I define the discourses of ecological modernization, green governmentality and civic environmentalism as occupying the discursive space of environmental politics. Further, I define six central components as characteristics for all environmental discourses. Outlining how both the existing environmental discourses and resilience theory relates to these components enables an understanding of both the political implications of resilience theory and of resilience theory as an environmental discourse in relation to existing environmental discourses. The six central discourse components I define are 1) the view on the nation-state; 2) the view on capitalism; 3) the view on civil society; 4) the view on political order; 5) the view on knowledge; 6) the view on human-nature relations. By doing an empirical textual analysis of academic texts on resilience theory I show that resilience theory assigns a limited role for the nation-state and a very important role for civil society and local actors when it comes to environmental politics. Its view on local actors and civil society is closely related to its relativist view on knowledge. Resilience theory views capitalism as a root of many environmental problems but with some political control and with changing perspectives this can be altered. Furthermore, resilience theory seems to advocate a weak bottom-up perspective on political order. Finally, resilience theory views human-nature relations as relations characterized by human adaptation to the prerequisites of nature. In conclusion, I argue that the empirical analysis show that resilience theory, as an environmental discourse, to a great extent resembles a subdivision of civic environmentalism called participatory multilateralism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. , 46 p.
Keyword [en]
Resilience theory, environmental discourse, ecological modernization, green governmentality, civic environmentalism, textual analysis
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8427OAI: diva2:200257
Available from: 2009-01-07 Created: 2009-01-07Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(301 kB)1228 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 301 kBChecksum MD5
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

By organisation
Department of Sociology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 1228 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 1223 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link