The Vulnerabilities and Resilience Programme

This programme seeks to understand and engage with new and emerging harmscapes in both the age of the Anthropocene and Novacene which result in both human and non-human vulnerabilities; how these vulnerabilities are currently governed; and how to build resilience capacities in response.

The specific aims of the programme are to explore these harmscapes with a view to:

Empirically investigating the nature of these harmscapes and how they are policed, ordered or governed, including a specific focus on local and indigenous knowledge systems and how they relate to external, global knowledges and pressures

Developing and advancing a novel theoretical framework with which criminology can be transformed from within through its engagement with harms in a socio-material world whilst also drawing on other disciplines as and when needed in seeking to move beyond a cross-disciplinary focus which itself ‘buys into’ the separation of disciplines of the social and natural worlds

Developing a normative agenda from which end-users can benefit in terms of mitigating vulnerabilities and building resilience capacities.


The "Art of Resilience”,  is a joint project with the International Centre for Comparative Criminology (CICC), University of Montreal and the Global Risk Governance, Programme, University of Cape Town.

The aim of the project is to understand how security professionals are responding to disruptive and unanticipated events. A key lens for this analysis is exploring how such professionals use the concept of resilience to understand and act across unfamiliar domains which are currently poorly secured - namely the ‘new worlds’ of the Anthropocene and cyberspace.

The Anthropocene presents unsecured environmental exposures which present new harmscapes, such as climate variability or water scarcity, which conventional approaches are ill-equipped to deal with. Likewise, the advent of ransomware attacks and data breaches present entirely new challenges to securing against such online harms within a ‘world’ which is generally poorly understood, governed or secured.

Through a documentary analysis and interviews with professionals who responded to major crises, the use and framing of resilience by a range of actors will be examined across multiple cases within Anthropocene and cyber domains. Comparative analysis hopes to contribute to enriching the many theoretical and normative perspectives on the subject.


Dupont, B., & Lusthaus, J. (2021). Countering Distrust in Illicit Online Networks: The Dispute Resolution Strategies of Cybercriminals. Social Science Computer Review, 1–22.

Dupont, B., & Holt, T. (2021). The Human Factor of Cybercrime. Social Science Computer Review, 1–5. 10.1177/08944393211011584

Dupont, B & Whelan, C. 2021. Enhancing relationships between criminology and cybersecurity. Journal of Criminology, 

Simpson, N., Rabenold, C., Sowman, M., & Shearing, C. 2021. Adoption rationales and effects of off-grid renewable energy access for African youth: A case study from Tanzania. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews. Volume 141, May 2021, 110793

Holley, C., Phelan, L. & Shearing, C. 2021. Dark Clouds: Regulatory Possibilities. In: Holley, C., Phelan, L. & Shearing, C. Eds. Forthcoming. Criminology and Climate: Insurance, Finance and the Regulation of Harmscapes (In the Series Criminology at the Edge, Eds. Leclerc, B., Homel, R. and Shearing, C.). Routledge.

Simpson, N.P., 2021. Insurance in the Anthropocene: Exposure, Solvency and Manoeuvrability, In  Holley, C., Phelan, L.&  Shearing, C. Eds. Criminology and Climate: Insurance, Finance and the Regulation of Harmscapes (In the Series Criminology at the Edge, Eds. Leclerc, B., Homel, R. and Shearing, C.). Routledge,

Holley, C., Mutongwizo, T. & Shearing, C. 2020. Conceptualizing Policing and Security: New Harmscapes, the Anthropocene and TechnologyAnnual Review of Criminology, vol 3

Simpson, N.P., Shearing, C.D. & Dupont, B. 2020. ‘Partial functional redundancy’: An expression of household-level resilience in response to climate riskClimate Risk Management.

Simpson, N.P., Shearing, C.D. & Dupont , B. 2020. Gated Adaptation during the Cape Town Drought: Mentalities, Transitions and Pathways to Partial Nodes of Water SecuritySociety & Natural Resources.

Mutongwizo, T., Holley, C.,  Shearing, C.D. &  Simpson, N.P. 2019. Resilience policing: An emerging response to shifting harm landscapesPolicing: A Journal of Policy and Practice. 

Simpson, N., Simpson, K., Shearing, C. & Cirolia, L.R. 2019. Municipal Finance and Resilience Lessons for Urban Infrastructure Management: A Case Study from the Cape Town DroughtInternational Journal of Urban Sustainable Development (TJUE). 

Simpson, N.P., Shearing, C. & Dupont B. 2019. Climate gating: A case study of emerging responses to Anthropocene RisksClimate Risk Management vol. 26.

Simpson, N.P., Shearing, C. & Dupont, B.. 2019. When Anthropocene shocks contest conventional mentalities: a case study from Cape TownClimate and Development.

Simpson, N.P. 2018. Accommodating landscape-scale shocks: Lessons on transition from Cape Town and Puerto RicoGeoforum.

.Dupont, B., Shearing, C. & Bernier, M. 2020. Withstanding cyber-attacks: cyber-resilience practices in the financial sector. Global Risk Institute. 1-22. Final Report. Available online:

The project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)