This chapter develops a comparative biographical analysis of resilience in the lives of Europeans experiencing hardship after the economic crisis, using concepts from the life course perspective in social science. Many people in the RESCuE study experienced economic adversity simultaneously with multiple ill-timed events that created negative spillovers across their life domains, leading to a severe risk that their lives would turn in the direction of sustained downward trajectories. We show how some participants sought to recover a sense of agency and positive anticipation through the reconfiguration of their biographical projects, often in ways that involved the adoption of new ethical frameworks. We discuss the importance of help from unexpected ‘opportunistic’ ties within narratives of biographical resilience. Converting such critical moments into sustained positive trajectories will require continuing increases in prosperity and improvements in the wider institutional environment, especially in those countries most severely affected by the crisis.
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