Research on resilience and climate change has reached a paradox which this chapter seeks to move beyond. On the one hand, participatory resilience initiatives are said to empower those involved to adapt, adjust and become more resilient to climate threats. On the other, a growing wave of critical research reveals how the effect of adaptation and resilience programming is often to depoliticise vulnerability and reduce adaptation to merely surviving the status quo, neoliberal development and the environmental transformations it entails. In this chapter we discuss how at the heart of this paradox lies a problematic modernist political imaginary that limits how researchers can envision what politics is, how and where resilience takes place. Moving beyond this modernist imaginary we engage with the work of Deleuze and Guattari on assemblage, and in particular the concept of ‘adaptation machines’. This less essentialised way of conceiving subjectivity, politics and society enables us to see the modern subject of rights, responsibilities, interests and disempowered agency as a product of a biopolitics of adaptation that attempts to shape the possibilities for individual and collective life in emergent and interconnected socio-ecological milieus.