Much conceptual confusion exists over the concepts of vulnerability and (social) resilience, reinforced by the different paradigms (the article identifies four) and disciplinary traditions underlying their use. While since the 1980s the social construction of "vulnerability" as a driver for disaster received considerable attention, in recent years we have seen increased attention to people's capacities and resilience. The currently popular "complexity" approach to risk moreover appears to offer ways of breaking through entrenched vulnerabilities. Resilience however is also a political project which, we argue, also has its dark, conservative overtones and overlooks structural sources of vulnerability that continue to affect hazard-prone actors. We may therefore need to conceive resilience as the potential for social transformation after disaster.