Against Resiliency: An Ethnographic Manifesto

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Using ethnography as an analytic tool to examine the concept of resiliency, we call for a shift in our practice and praxis. Research subjects and ethnographic practitioners are tired of working against and thriving despite. We are tired of being seen as resilient in a world that demands so much from us and only values our contributions if they align with dominant views and world systems. We are tired of being relied upon to provide answers and solutions to the issues presented in front of us. In this manifesto, we demonstrate and argue that resilience, as a category of human agency, shifts responsibility to the person being resilient and away from the systemic problems that created the need to be resilient in the first place. By reifying resilience in our research and our findings, we celebrate survival despite the psychic and somatic labor and toll on resilient actors. As practitioners, we are drained by being and witnessing resilience. As ethnographers who work, we must imagine with people past resiliency to a place where we all thrive. We approach our methods and our engagements with compassion, mutual aid, and exploration.

Article citation: 2022 EPIC Proceedings pp 202–219, ISSN 1559-8918,

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  1 comment for “Against Resiliency: An Ethnographic Manifesto

  1. Article with good points; however, I would like to know more about the definition of resilience used. A comprehensive review of the term suggests a wider definition inclusive of role/impact of environment. With this wider definition, the call for liberation of self is not solely placed on the oppressed individual.

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