• Resisting Resilience

    The state now assumes that one of its key tasks is to imagine the worst-case scenario, the coming #catastrophe, the crisis-to-come, the looming attack, the emergency that could happen, might happen and probably will happen, all in order to be better prepared. In the US and UK security strategies just cited, a future attack of some (unstated) sort is assumed to be going to happen, and even if a terror attack is prevented a disaster of some other sort is assumed bound to happen at some time. In this way the logic of #security in the form of preparation for a terrorist attack folds into a much broader logic of security in the form of preparation for an unknown disaster. #Resilience is nothing if not an apprehension of the future, but a future imagined as disaster and then, more importantly, recovery from the disaster. In this task resilience plays heavily on its origins in systems thinking, explicitly linking security with urban planning, civil contingency measures, public health, financial institutions, corporate risk and the environment in a way that had previously been incredibly hard for the state to do. Thus a Department for International Development publication on Defining Disaster Resilience (2011) finds that disaster resilience stretches across the whole social and political fabric, while a UN document on disaster management suggests that to be fully achieved a policy of resilience requires ‘a consideration of almost every physical phenomenon on the planet’. The presupposition of permanent threat demands a constant re-imagining of the myriad ways in which the threat might be realized. Resilience thereby comes to be a fundamental mechanism for policing the #imagination. ‘Imagination is not a gift usually associated with bureaucracies’, notes the official 9/77 Commission Report in 2004, which then goes on to suggest that what the state needs is a means of connecting state bureaucracy with the political imagination. ‘Resilience’ is the concept that facilitates that connection: nothing less than the attempted colonization of the political imagination by the state.