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Bridging the Macro and the Micro by Considering the Meso: Reflections on the Fractal Nature of Resilience

Johan Bergström, Lund University Centre for Societal Resilience; Lund University Centre for Risk Assessment and Management (LUCRAM); Lund University Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety
Sidney W. A. Dekker, Safety Science Innovation Lab - School of Humanities, Griffith University; University of Queensland


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We pursued the following three interconnected points: (1) there are unexplored opportunities for resilience scholars from different disciplines to cross-inspire and inform, (2) a systems perspective may enhance understanding of human resilience in health and social settings, and (3) resilience is often considered to be fractal, i.e., a phenomenon with recognizable or recurring features at a variety of scales. Following a consideration of resilience from a systems perspective, we explain how resilience can, for analytic purposes, be constructed at four scales: micro, meso, macro, and cross-scale. Adding to the cross-scale perspective of the social-ecological field, we have suggested an analytical framework for resilience studies of the health field, which incorporates holism and complexity by embracing an ecological model of cognition, something supported by empirical studies of organizations in crisis situations at various spatial as well as temporal scales.

Key words

human resilience; organizational resilience; resilience; resilience engineering; societal resilience

Copyright © 2014 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087