Presentation at the School of Health and Care Professions Seminar Series, University of Portsmouth

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Description of Activity

Title of talk: ‘Critiquing resilience: Implications for Health and Social Care’
A critique of the ways 'resilience' is used in health and social care discourses and practices, comparing these discourses with practices of resilience as expressed by migrants to the UK.

Using research from the project
‘Themes Research and Innovation Funds’ 2019 - 2021: ‘Circular migration, health and wellbeing’ research project looking at the well-being of Central and Eastern European migrants and their families in the UK. £15, 706.40 (with Dr Nora Siklodi)

This paper investigates the concepts of resilience and wellbeing as experienced by Central and Eastern European migrants in the UK who frequently travel to and maintain a life in their ‘home’ countries, a type of circular migration. Concepts of resilience and wellbeing have become hugely influential in discourses on mental and physical health, and migrants are seen as having particular reserves, produced to survive adverse conditions (Gatt et al 2020). More broadly, resilience is seen as fundamental for building coping strategies to overcome hardships that we frequently face in our frenetic, modern lives. Training courses and resources have proliferated that aim to build individual capacity for resilience to cope under pressure and improve labour workforce efficiency. This paper follows an emerging line of thought that examines resilience by shifting the focus away from professional/academic discourses. Studying the everyday manifestations of resilience can greatly refine our understanding of the concept. In the framework of a small-scale, qualitative research study of Central and Eastern European migrants in the UK, this paper looks at how these migrants represent themselves orally and visually as both good, hard-working, successful migrants whilst at the same time showing how they experience vulnerability, pain and dislocation. These findings point to resilience as not just a personal quality or trait, but as a learned way to interact with and resist a predominantly neoliberal notion of mobile citizenship. With such findings, this paper contributes to current criticisms of resilience as something that can be inculcated into a workforce for improved efficiency and productivity. Instead, we call for a greater critical understanding of everyday experiences of resilience that is not divorced from the pain and discomfort in our intimate lives, nor from the modes of resistance used to navigate challenging situations.
Period4 Feb 2022
Held atSchool of Health & Care Professions
Degree of RecognitionLocal


  • resilience
  • Central and Eastern Europe
  • migrants
  • social work
  • social care
  • health care
  • Themes and Research Innovation Fund