From resilience to resourcefulness: A critique of resilience policy and activism

Danny MacKinnon, Kate Driscoll Derickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

711 Scopus citations


This paper provides a theoretical and political critique of how the concept of resilience has been applied to places. It is based upon three main points. First, the ecological concept of resilience is conservative when applied to social relations. Second, resilience is externally defined by state agencies and expert knowledge. Third, a concern with the resilience of places is misplaced in terms of spatial scale, since the processes which shape resilience operate primary at the scale of capitalist social relations. In place of resilience, we offer the concept of resourcefulness as an alternative approach for community groups to foster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-270
Number of pages18
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • communities
  • ecology
  • resilience
  • resourcefulness
  • social relations


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