Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Association for Queer Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Resilience
Secondary Theme: Inequality
In recent years models of resilience have emerged as a trope within academic fields, activist, and social media circles, with calls for self-care and adaptation as a means of resistance. While human and bio-ecological resilience is certainly advantageous, this panel considers the i. implications of resilience as a force that obscures and diverts attention away from relational and structural forms of violence (social, political, economic), and ii. how directing attention toward self-determined 'viabilities' and 'vitalities' illuminates how communities identify fissures or ruptures in the continuity of oppressive structures, pedagogies, policies, spaces, places, and laws. Indeed, resilience is broadly appealing in that it offers individuals and groups the opportunity to celebrate ingenuity and survival that advance subject agency. Yet, resilience is also implicated in the reproduction of one's own subjectification. Importantly, the fetishization of resilience results in a failure to identify and call for an end to systems that produce the very inequities of which the resilient subject is to overcome. In other words, resiliency is rendered possible when the structures and systems themselves are designed to preempt other viable possibilities for life-making.
In this panel we reconsider the value of resiliency as a metric of quality of life and, instead, approach resilience as supporting “the idea of the neoliberal subject as autonomous and responsible” (Joseph 2013) to which we offer alternative frameworks of measuring livable lives. Specifically, this panel draws attention to the viability of family and community life under the expanding array of insidious forms of citizenship policing through international development, medical anthropological and moralizing productions of (dis)ability, and institutional managements of black, brown, Deaf, queer, and trans bodies. Across geographic, linguistic, embodied, and discursive milieu, we shift the laudatory focus on resiliency and false optics of resistance towards methods of life-making identified and produced by communities of practice.