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E&S Home > Vol. 20, Iss. 1 > Art. 39 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Stasis and change: social psychological insights into social-ecological resilience

Elizabeth V. Hobman, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, University of Queensland
Iain Walker, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, University of Western Australia

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07260-200139

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Abstract

Ecologists have used the concept of resilience since the 1970s. Resilience also features in many of the social and economic sciences, though in a less central role and with a variety of interpretations. Developing a fuller understanding of the concept of social-ecological resilience promises advances in how science can contribute to achieving better environmental outcomes, locally and globally. Such a development requires articulation of different perspectives on resilience and critical engagement across those perspectives. We present, in some detail, a particular perspective on resilience developed by the pioneering social psychologist Kurt Lewin. We suggest that Lewin’s explicit use of social-ecological systems in his framework presaged much of the current social-ecological understanding of resilience. We set out some key details of his framework, notably the characteristics of his field theory, his use of group dynamics as a vehicle for social change, his introduction and development of the principles of action research, and his three-step change model. We conclude by mentioning some areas of the framework that are under-theorized or not theorized at all.

Key words

action research; Kurt Lewin; resilience; social ecology

Copyright © 2015 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.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087