Welcome to Public Knowledge Journal’s issue on “Resilience,” which was conceived as a tribute to the fifth anniversary of the journal’s inaugural edition. The phenomenon of resilience, or the capacity to bounce back from trauma, is an important consideration for many scholars across a variety of disciplines, including biology, health, ecology, engineering, physics, psychology, sociology, and urban studies. Although the term takes on unique meanings in various fields, resilience may be loosely defined as the capacity of an individual, community, or system to recover from, and even prosper, after a disturbance or trauma. Resilience, as a metaphor, is derived from the Latin word “resilíre”, meaning “to leap back.” Therefore, Public Knowledge Journal’s presentation of Issue 5.1 is an effort to pay tribute to the history of the journal while simultaneously addressing critical issues that are under consideration
Academic journals, including graduate student journals are, indeed, resilient systems in and of themselves. They undergo phases of stability, change, and collapse, and at times their structural integrity is challenged by the transient nature of scholarly development. Public Knowledge Journal, has weathered disturbances over the course of the past five years. Similarly, the unique ecosystems that our authors are considering in this issue demonstrate the turbulent conditions that resilience attends. Some of the questions that our contributors considered for this issue include: 1) How is resilience conceptualized?; 2) What are the underlying conditions that make resilience possible?; and 3) Do ecosystems require the turbulence?
Lenny Grant’s article “Retraining Appalachian miners and homemakers: A Burkean reading of workforce West Virginia” is illustrative of the cycle of labor exploitation in Appalachia. In so doing, Grant theorizes the resilient nature of the relationship between “a labor counterpublic and a powerful superpublic in a modern representative democracy,” including its moments of challenge and transformation. This politicization of resilience, its obstacles, and catalysts is also highlighted in Brendan Halloran’s article, “Politicizing Resilience: The Political Nature of Strengthening Resilience in International Development Practice.” Halloran highlights the integration of the concept of resilience within the professional international development community as they undertake the complicated work to mitigate vulnerabilities.
The third and fourth articles for this issue focus on natural resource exploitation more specifically, and delve into the complicated ethical issues surrounding resource extraction. In “Ethical Energy: Fair Trade, the End of Exploitation and the Move to Renewable Resources” Sheila Westfall examines the economic and social challenges of resource extraction that must be traversed in order to move toward a more ethical energy regime in the United States. Michelle M.H. Şeref also examines the complicated, and often value-laden rhetoric that defines resource extraction in her article “Metaphors in Motion: Debating “rape” as a Social Movement Metaphor for Mountain-top Removal,” in which she argues for positive and mediated discourse as powerful tool to further the social movement against Mountain Top Removal.
In the final peer-reviewed article of Issue 5.1, “Reconceptualizing Resilience: Characterizing Resilient Communities,” Dr. Lyndal Neelin examines particularity as a unique feature of resilience. Indeed, Neelin grapples with many of the theoretical challenges that the aforementioned articles contextualize through their cases studies, including political influence, identity, and the belief in alternative futures. As a whole, Issue 5.1 offers a fascinating conversation that is at the heart of the search for public knowledge.
Sascha Engel’s Classic Book Review of Baudrillard’s For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign, rounds out Issue 5.1 on Resilience. In his review, entitled “Circulative Materiality, Material Circulation,” Engel details the symbolic exchange of capital, which might be understood as the most resilient system of all.
A very special “Thank You” to Dr. Stefanie Georgakis-Abbot for reviving Public Knowledge’s presence on the Web and for making this conversation possible. As with each of our issues, you can continue the conversation by responding through our commenting system or by contributing a blog post in response to the ideas explored here. Enjoy the issue!Dr. Stefanie Georgakis-Abbott & Jennifer Lawrence
Submitting Your Work
PKJ welcomes contributions in a variety of forms including scholarly articles for peer-review, commentaries, book reviews, and multimedia submissions such as photographs, podcasts, and video interviews. All submissions and questions should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief at firstname.lastname@example.org. See http://pkjournal.org/ for full submission guidelines. Authors retain copyright to their published work.