Resilience in peacebuilding: Contesting uncertainty, ambiguity, and complexity

Ana E Juncos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
319 Downloads (Pure)


With the failure of liberal peace strategies in the Global South, resilience has recently become the risk management strategy par excellence in peacebuilding. Since it is not possible to predict when the next crisis will take place, peacebuilders must invest in bottom-up adaptive capacities to cope with external shocks. This article moves away from governmentality accounts of resilience which are overtly deterministic and depoliticizing. Instead, it posits that the uncertainty, ambiguity, and complexity associated with resilience mean that we should expect opportunities for contestation and institutional agency. This argument will be illustrated by drawing upon the European Union’s adoption of the resilience approach in its peacebuilding and security policies. The article argues that while uncertainty, ambiguity, and complexity constitute the ontological conditions that underpin the rise of resilience in peacebuilding, they are also likely to lead to its potential demise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-574
Number of pages16
JournalContemporary Security Policy
Issue number4
Early online date18 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018


  • ambiguity
  • complexity
  • contestation
  • peacebuilding
  • Resilience
  • uncertainty


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