From Risk to Resilience: Responsible citizens for uncertain times

The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Risk Societies Thematic Group in partnership with the School of Social and Political Sciences and Victoria University invite you to attend a lecture by one of the leading sociologists and social theorists.

To inculcate the obligations of responsibility – has this not been the aspiration of almost all who hope to govern human beings, who seek to implant technologies of ‘self-mastery’ in each individual who is to live their lives in a condition of freedom rather than of domination? In this presentation, Nikolas Rose locates this repeated return to the theme of responsibility within the genealogy of ‘ethopolitics’ – the ways in which sentiments, values and beliefs are deployed as a medium through which the self-government of the individual can be linked with the imperatives of good government.

Professor Rose briefly reviews some of the configurations for the ‘conduct of conduct’ from the mid-nineteenth century to the present in which responsibility has been central. From this perspective, he examines the rise of the term ‘resilience’ in contemporary ethopolitics, and suggests that the ethic of responsibility is being reworked in the context of a concern with managing individual and collective conduct in the face of pervasive insecurity and uncertainty concerning the future.

While some see the rise of resilience strategies as a neoliberal apotheosis of reactionary individualism, Professor Rose concludes by exploring whether, and in what ways, these new strategies, and the technologies of citizenship to which they are linked, might provide opportunities for a more progressive politics.

Nikolas Rose is Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King’s College, London. He was previously (2006-2011) Martin White Professor of Sociology and Director of the BIOS Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He is also co-PI for the EPSRC funded Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation (CSynBI) and part of the Ethics and Society Division of the Human Brain Project. His recent work has focused on the drivers, nature and implications of developments in the life sciences and biotechnology and more generally on the relations between the social sciences and the life sciences.

His most recent books are The Politics of Life Itself : Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century (Princeton, 2006); Governing The Present (with Peter Miller, Polity, 2008) and Neuro: the New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind (with Joelle Abi-Rached, Princeton, 2013).

This event will be live streamed on this website