“It’s just a cycle”: Resilience, poetics, and intimate disruptions


The phrase “It’s just a cycle” is commonly articulated in coastal resilience efforts and it also shapes broader public debates about climate change. Identifying the structure of arguments around cycles is a useful starting point for defining differences in perspective, but there is more to competing claims about cycles. It is this more that this essay aims to explore, starting with an opening example from an engaged rhetorical ethnographic project with Maine’s clam fishery. The example helps set up a methodological orientation to working with cycles within resilience-focused collaborations that draws from aesthetics and poetics. This approach aims to show how cycles shape world making and how attending to cycles as a trope can create a space for critical disruptions of colonial patterns. This is a space of intimate connection that allows cyclical rhythms, like those of tides, to help reveal a passageway to resilience.

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Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry

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