wlan0 doesn't exist... but is already configured?

After a lot of frustration, I finally got my usb wifi adapter working. But I need PWM, and saw that it’s now in the kernel. I upgraded my kernel and of course now wifi’s gone. Well, this is not wholly unexpected. But I could use some help clawing my way back to connectivity.

so: dmesg mentions nothing about firmware, but it more or less looks like things are okay: http://pastebin.com/YgG1SXBi

iwconfig and ifconfig say nothing about wlan0 (they only list eth0 and lo); but ifup wlan0 delivers “ifup: interface wlan0 already configured”

prior to the kernel upgrade ifup wlan0 brought things up fine – I had a pre and post-init script for the interface that launched wpa_supplicant, etc. I still have those scripts, but of course they don’t work now. My best guess is that I had disabled connman (perhaps with the hacky chmod -x approach discussed here), that the opkg upgrade (to update the kernel) brought it back, and that it’s now interfering with something or other. But perhaps that’s all wrong – connman is a bit of a mystery to me.

I attempted to replicate my earlier work, but in killing connman I wound up nuking my ethernet connectivity entirely and wound up panicking and restoring a backup of the system image pre-upgrade (it’s possible I’d screwed something else up besides connman – at that point it was pretty late).

So I think I’m stuck. I’d greatly appreciate suggestions about how to proceed, even if they’re just ideas about ways of collecting additional relevant information.

Is NetworkManager running? Often times I have problems connecting, via
wifi, when NetworkManager is running.