Reconceptualizing Resilience and What It Implies for CCA, Drr, and Sustainability Development: A Sociological Pespective Stressing Socio-Cultural Dimensions, Human Agency, and Innovatioin

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Marcus CARSON, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden
Tom R BURNS, Uppsala University, Sweden
The use of the term resilience has virtually exploded in the past decade, yet its usage points to wildly differing meanings and applications. Among the most widely used definitions, it is defined as the capacity of a system to respond to a perturbation or disturbance by resisting damage and recovering quickly (this is among several definitions critically discussed in the paper). Interdisciplinary theoretical discourses on resilience now include consideration of the interactions of humans and ecosystems by means of models of socio-ecological systems, and entails a shift from the maximum sustainable yield paradigm to environmental resource management that aims to build ecological resilience through adaptive resource management and adaptive governance".

The paper criticizes the mainstream conceptualization of resilience for its flat portrayal (and all-too-often neglect) of socio-cultural dimensions, the role of human agency, and innovative and creative activities. Drawing on a wide range of relevant sociological research, the paper offers an alternative conceptualization. It emphasizes: (1) the socio-cultural and institutional context of resilience processes; (2) the socio-political capacity of entrepreneurs to mobilize human agents and resources (including economic and technical resources) in response to systemic disturbances; and (3) the capacity to initiate innovation processes and produce creative responses and adaptations to systemic disturbances. Cases of municipalities and local communities are presented and analyzed in this new perspective. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of the reconceptualization for CCA, DRR, and Sustainability Development.