The resilient subject: exploring subjectivity, identity and the body in narratives of resilience

Kay Aranda, Laetitia Zeeman, Julie Scholes, A.S. Morales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


International research and policy interest in resilience has increased enormously during the last decade. Resilience is now considered to be a valuable asset or resource with which to promote health and well-being and forms part of a broader trend towards strength based as opposed to deficit models of health. And while there is a developing critique of resilience’s conceptual limits and normative assumptions, to date there is less discussion of the subject underpinning these notions, nor related issues of subjectivity, identity or the body. Our aim in this article is to begin to address this gap. We do so by re-examining the subject within two established narratives of resilience, as ‘found’ and ‘made’. We then explore the potential of a third narrative, which we term resilience ‘unfinished’. This latter story is informed by feminist poststructural understandings of the subject, which in turn, resonate with recently articulated understandings of an emerging psychosocial subject and the contribution of psychoanalysis to these debates. We then consider the potential value of this poststructural, performative and embodied psychosocial subject and discuss the implications for resilience theory, practice and research.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012


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