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The COVID-19 crisis has raised challenges for economic, social and political order within and between states. Moreover, it has severely challenged the idea that communities could become more resilient, and that their resilience would provide an answer to the threats and vulnerabilities that increasingly affect them. As health systems, global trade, economies and even political systems strained under the weight of the pandemic, the emphasis on “resilience” as a policy prescription and policy tool has been put under the spotlight.
Central to policy-making in a range of areas, from economic policy to peace- building, has been the assertion that contemporary threats - including economic and financial crises, terrorism, climate change and, of course, pandemics - are too unpredictable to foresee and prevent. Accordingly, because crises are both inevitable and bound to repeat themselves, societies must learn to “bounce back” as quickly and efficiently as possible. Resilience approaches aim at mitigation of or adaptation to crises rather than ending them. A world characterized by uncertainty and complexity makes “top-down” solutions inherently ineffective and demands the implementation of resilience strategies involving the sharing of responsibilities among individuals and communities. The covid-19 crisis has put this assertion to the test and raised questions about whether the emphasis on social resilience has, amongst other things, neglected the role of the state in responding to crises.
The aim of this workshop/conference is to have a wide-ranging discussion on the use of resilience as an analytic and policy tool. It wants to explore the ways it has emerged in different areas of social and political life, highlighting how the Covid-19 crises may have exposed its limits but also given it space to expand even further as a tool of government.
We welcome papers that address these and related questions, with an openness to those who take a broader conceptual approach to the concept of resilience as well as those with a more empirical focus. For instance, we would welcome papers that explore global public policy issues such as health, education, the environment and inequality. While the emphasis is on Covid-19, all papers do not necessarily have to deal with the pandemic.
The aim is for the conference to be held in Trento in September 2021. The conference organization will cover travel and accommodation for three nights. A decision on the timing and modality for the workshop will be taken in due time, if the current health provisions remain in place.
Depending on the number of papers and how they fit together, conference proceedings will lead to some papers being included in a submission for a special issue of a journal and the remaining papers in an edited volume.
Cedric de Coning
If you are interested in participating, please send an abstract (250 words) of your paper along with a short bio by 15 February 2021 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vincent Della Sala
Department of Sociology and Social Research
University of Trento