Words which Matter to People

Abstract

Resilience is a technical term, one which has spread along with the influence of systems thinking and come into use in a widening range of academic and professional fields. But it has no cultural roots; which is to say, it is not grounded in the experience of people’s lives and the ways in which people have made sense of that experience. Instead, with its aura of expert detachment, it belongs to that category of words by which we hold things at a distance. I doubt that anyone would joke about resilience in the way that Finns can joke about sisu, and for this reason I doubt that anyone can take it so seriously.