The language of “resilience” features prominently in contemporary climate security debates. While a basic definition of resilience is the capacity of a system to absorb recurrent disturbances so as to retain its essential structures, processes, and feedbacks, I argue that resilience is currently articulated in four distinct ways in climate security discourse. These are strategic resilience, neoliberal resilience, social resilience, and ecological resilience. Most analyses of resilience-based security discourses have hitherto been informed by Foucauldian notions of governing populations at a distance to ensure compliance with neoliberal norms. However, in the climate security field, neoliberal resilience discourses have achieved relatively little salience, while Foucauldian accounts are largely overdetermined, thus obscuring the multiple ways in which resilience is currently articulated. In this article, I identify these disparate resilience discourses through an analysis of recent US and UK government, international organization, nongovernmental organization, and academic climate security literature. I then analyze these discourses in terms of their basic discursive structure and degree of institutionalization to clarify how dominant climate security narratives construct understandings of security and insecurity in contemporary global environmental politics. While strategic articulations are currently most conspicuous, I argue that only social and ecological resilience support long-term human flourishing and ecosystem integrity.

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