Resilience as a Unifying Concept

International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 28 (3):303-324 (2014)
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In sustainability research and elsewhere, the notion of resilience is attracting growing interest and causing heated debate. Those focusing on resilience often emphasize its potential to bridge, integrate, and unify disciplines. This article attempts to evaluate these claims. Resilience is investigated as it appears in several fields, including materials science, psychology, ecology, and sustainability science. It is argued that two different concepts of resilience are in play: one local, the other global. The former refers to the ability to return to some reference state after a disturbance, the latter the maintenance of some property during a disturbance. An implication of this analysis is that the various uses of the resilience concept are more closely related than has been previously been suggested. Furthermore, it is argued that there is a preference towards using highly abstract versions of the concept. This explains the apparent context insensitivity of the concept, but presents a problem for those..



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Henrik Thorén
University of Helsinki

Citations of this work

Is resilience a normative concept?Henrik Thorén & Lennart Olsson - 2018 - Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses 2 (6):112-128.
The possibility of deep naturalism: a philosophy for ecology.Leigh Price - 2019 - Journal of Critical Realism 18 (4):352-367.

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