Securing the Imagination: The Politics of the Resilient Self

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


As a culture we have never been as saturated as we are today by discourses around the need and ability to develop the self. In many ways psychological discourses around selfhood can be seen to be driving wider political and social discourses on a more or less global scale. The psychological discourse around the ‘resilient self’ is a case in point. This chapter critiques psychological accounts of resilience by focusing on their limited understandings of the roles of imagination in self-development. In particular, it critiques psychologists of resilience for reducing the function of imagination to survival in the project of selfhood. Images are essential for human beings, I argue, to not only survive but transform our political and social circumstances. Imagination can either contribute to the survival strategies with which we attempt to care for ourselves in the face of ordeals and traumas, or it can, more ambitiously, seek to create an image of the self, existing free from the possibility and necessity of a life of endless trauma and struggle. It is this latter task that I will argue deserves the greater exploration today.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Resilience Machine
EditorsJim Bohland, Simin Davoudi, Jennifer L. Lawrence
Place of PublicationNew York
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-351-21118-5
ISBN (Print)978-0-8153-8112-9, 978-0-8153-8113-6
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • resilience
  • imagination
  • selfhood
  • Politics

Field of science

  • International political science


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