To be resilient or to be steadfast – Re-visiting the Resilient Subject in Psychological Resilience Training in the Military

  • Barbara Gruber (Speaker)

Activiteit: Academic presentationAcademic


training module in militaries but more recently also in the UK’s and EU’s radicalization prevention strategies. This ‘colonization’ of security by positive psychology’s resilience rationale introduces a particular understanding of resilience and a resilient subject.
While security formerly meant ‘being without worry’, positive psychology creates a subjectivity that learns ‘how not to worry’. As such, and as noted by other critics of such policies, resilience becomes a way of adapting the subject to undesirable political conditions, rather than to change the political status quo. However, accounts of people subjected to resilience training show how resilience becomes re-appropriated during the training and so affects the formation process of subjectivity.
This paper puts forward a theoretical argument on how subjectivation works in positive psychology’s formation of a resilient subject. The first part shows how resilience was used to resist psychological interventions in sites of security. The second part engages with how positive psychology managed to conceptually ‘reign in’ resilience again. I will argue that resilience tries to produce an ‘immunized’ subject. The third part, however, employs Butler’s critique on Foucault to show that while positive psychology intends to form a specific subject, the formation is a process with an uncertain outcome.
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