Skip to main content Skip to navigation


You can find our repository of past events here

Show all calendar items

The Making of Resilient Communities: Change, Complexity and Resilience

- Export as iCalendar
Location: Ramphal Room R1.15

We live in times of transformational change, associated with growing complexity, fragmenting international orders, frequenting global crises, including the ongoing war in Ukraine, and diminishing control over our environment. These challenges cannot be addressed on a global level alone, and require a radical rethink of how we understand and manage change more effectively on all levels, in what is now called a ‘VUCA-world’ (Burrows and Gnad 2017) - a world of increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. This talk will address these challenges by exploring complexity as a new way of theorising the world, in which I argue, the attention should be given more to ‘the local’, ‘the relational’ and ‘the communal’, as the primary units of analysis, for constituting and managing change. This line of thinking invariably leads us to the notion of resilience as ‘a new art of governing complexity’ (Chandler 2014; 2020), which will form a central part of my discussion. Developing a post-neoliberal understanding of resilience and focusing on ‘the person’ and a ‘problem at source’, we contend that communities have the necessary strength, capacities and coping strategies to withstand and adapt to change on the ground (Korosteleva 2018; Juncos 2017). Our research has demonstrated (Korosteleva & Petrova 2021) that even without substantive material resources, communities are able to pull through adversity and crisis being driven by a sense of shared purpose and tenacity; and even mobilise themselves into emotive peoplehood, as attested, for example, by the case of Belarus and Ukraine when facing deep injustice, aggression, and war. This means that ‘governing complexity’ is more about these local, self-reliant and self-organising practices, and the relational value of (interspecific) community, than simply transposing and adopting top-down ‘modernising’ techniques and premeditated solutions through external intervention, which is often the case for the EU. This is not to idealise ‘the local’ by any means. Rather, we argue, a better understanding of resilience as self-governance, vested in local communities, may help us, consequently, develop more sustainable and responsive modes of governance on all levels, which forms the focus of the third part of this monograph, thus uniquely connecting complexity, through resilience, to governance, including both on the community level and the level of the evolving world order.


Show all calendar items