Is resilience a normative concept?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this paper, we engage with the question of the normative content of the resilience concept. The issues are approached in two consecutive steps. First, we proceed from a narrow construal of the resilience concept – as the ability of a system to absorb a disturbance – and show that under an analysis of normative concepts as evaluative concepts resilience comes out as descriptive. In the second part of the paper, we argue that (1) for systems of interest (primarily social systems or system with a social component) we seem to have options with respect to how they are described and (2) that this matters for what is to be taken as a sign of resilience as opposed to a sign of the lack of resilience for such systems. We discuss the implications of this for how the concept should be applied in practice and suggest that users of the resilience concept face a choice between versions of the concept that are either ontologically or normatively charged.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy


  • Resilience, normativity, concepts
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-128
JournalResilience - International Policies, Practices and Discourses
Issue number2
Early online date2017 Nov 29
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch