Talia R Gordon

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9817

Approve Date

April 30, 2019

Project Title

Gordon, Talia (Chicago, U. of) "Why Resilience Now? Crisis, Adversity, and Collective life in the Post-Welfare United States"

In 2014, the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, became contaminated with unprecedented levels of lead, sparking a crisis that drew attention to the effects of social and economic decline, broken infrastructure, and continued disinvestment by state and federal administrations in an already disenfranchised community. In response, the U.S. government provided federal aid to build “resilience” in Flint. In recent years, resilience-building has become ubiquitous as a strategy for helping communities recover from catastrophic events. However, the investment in resilience in Flint holds perplexing implications for the ways that adversity is managed by local residents, the community, and the state. In particular, it highlights an emerging paradox of collective life in post-welfare era U.S., where marginalized populations are not only required by neoliberal doctrines to be self-sufficient in the face of growing inequality, but are enlisted by the state as responsible for recovering – and emerging strengthened – from the effects of structural and institutional failure. Contending that the management of adversity is a central facet of collective life in the U.S., my project investigates how resilience-building efforts in Flint intersect with and shape local modes of social organization, national modes of citizenship, and sustainable forms of contemporary life.