Unmasking resilience as governmentality: towards an Afrocentric epistemology
(2021) International Politics
This paper is a discussion of how indigenous Afrocentric epistemologies proffer critiques and alternative to neoliberal discourses of resilience and what differences it makes for the study of International Politics. There has been an epistemological shift in recent times towards resilience as a form of governance aimed at enhancing the agency and adaptive capacity of populations. This has necessitated the mainstreaming and theorisation of local systems of ontology. Importantly, the current emphasis privileges how societies absorb and manage natural exigencies of life. The underlying assumption of this shift in the contemporary critical and policy discourse is that indigenous forms of ‘‘knowledge’’ and indigeneity can enhance the ability of local actors to navigate the uncertainties of a globalised world. I question this assumption by highlighting the fact that the apparent epistemological interest in local ontology is a crisis resolution strategy that has become necessary after the universal neoliberal project faced crisis and rejection. Given this, the promotion of resilience epistemology is meant to extend the reach of global actors into the deep recesses of peripheral systems and to instruct how resistance can be reduced. This makes resilience a technology or strategy of governmentality, a new emerging form of governance agenda. Given that the globalisation crisis for neoliberalism has not abated, the only insurance of Africa will be to formalise and own its ontology of resilience strategies to insulate its populations from external pressures of disruption. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited part of Springer Nature.
Afrocentricity; Foucault; Governmentality; Indigeneity; Neoliberal governance; Resilience