Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Global and Sociocultural Studies

First Advisor's Name

Kevin Grove

First Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dennis Wiedman

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Committee Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Juiet Erazo

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Jose Miguel Cruz

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Resilience, Critical Resilience, Development, Tourism Development, Risk, Coastal Management, Biopolitics, Ecuador, neoliberal, anti-neoliberal

Date of Defense



Resilience appears to be everywhere, morphing and seducing global discourses, national governmental practices, and scholarship. Inasmuch as hegemonic discourses and national governments promote resilience through both disaster reduction and sustainable development policies, critical resilience scholars have emphasized resilience as a neoliberal security technique. By reinforcing resilience as a governmental practice embedded in neoliberal rationale, theory and practice are neglecting other areas to contextualize resilience. My dissertation traces a genealogy of neoliberal and anti-neoliberal State interventions underpinned by resilience thinking, organizing coastal rural lives in Ecuador. My dissertation shows, no matter the Ecuadorian governments’ rationale, both genuflected to global hegemonic discourses on resilience that justify government intervention to secure the population’s future. My analysis also reveals that both governmental rationales promoting resilience implemented similar techniques: legal framework adaptations, decentralizing processes, technocratic planning, and participatory management.

After I captured resilience practices morphing through neoliberal and anti-neoliberal governance, a comprehensive ethnographic account also discloses unintended outcomes threatening the beach ecosystem. Ecosystems are a critical foundation of the socio-ecological relationship; however, profound changes in the beach ecosystem are now a consequence of the neoliberal and anti-neoliberal governmental emphasis on protecting the population and tourist infrastructure. More importantly, this research untangles resilience precepts underlying the neoliberal and anti-neoliberal problematization of nature to justify governmental intervention in coastal management.

My particular critique of resilience does not replicate academic emphasis on catastrophic events. Hegemonic frameworks underrepresent the slow, local, and small emergencies by emphasizing acute and sudden events. However, resilience theory admits that continuous processes can also change the nature of a complex system. Thus, I focus on slow emergencies, those not regular, not acute emergencies, which also demand collective political or ethical response. My dissertation captures the constructive role of slow emergencies, frequently missed in disaster resilience analysis, to argue that resilience is a political process among nature, population, and governmental security techniques. The politics of resilience captures the social and cultural dimension of nature; then, nature emerges as an object of political struggles within complex, socio-ecological indeterminacy.






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