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Principles of epistemological accountability with methodological implications for measuring, assessing, and profiling human resilience

Astier M Almedom, Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies; Lund University Division of Social Medicine and Global Health; Centre for Societal Resilience, Lund University.
David O'Byrne, Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies
Anne Jerneck, Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies


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We propose two fundamental principles of epistemological accountability with critical methodological implications for studies designed to measure, assess, and/or profile human psychosocial resilience. Firstly, researchers involved in human psychosocial resilience studies owe it to the individuals and communities that they engage to disclose their motives and possible misreadings of the situations they enter, albeit with good intentions. Secondly, researchers and those individuals researched need to share a language of colearning and coproduction, and utilization of knowledge that is mutually intelligible. Again, the onus is on researchers and their funders to respect the researched and their particular epistemological sovereignties. As the number of published examples of authentic community- and/or needs-driven research and action to strengthen human psychosocial resilience increases, the sustainability of human social well-being and harmony may also be expected to rise. Psychosocial resilience encompasses a dynamic multidimensional set of personal capabilities as well as social and material assets/resources that individuals, families, and communities mobilize to mentally and emotionally embrace “turbulent” change and transformation while maintaining routine functioning without loss of identity, integrity, or core purpose in life that defines them as who they are individually as well as collectively. These proposed informed predictions are yet to be widely adopted and applied in the new paradigm for advancing this century of human psychosocial resilience, well-being, and sustainability.

Key words

community resilience; epistemological accountability; human resilience; psychosocial well-being, sustainability studies

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work 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