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Analyzing community resilience as an emergent property of dynamic social-ecological systems

Lucy Faulkner, Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, UK
Katrina Brown, Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, UK
Tara Quinn, Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, UK

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-09784-230124

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Abstract

Community resilience is widely promoted so that communities can respond positively to a range of risks, including shocks, extreme events, and other changes. Although much research has identified characteristics or capacities that confer resilience, resilience is more than simply the sum of these. Resilience is an emergent property—the capacities are linked and act together. We present an empirical analysis of five different capacities and assess how interactions between them confer resilience in two coastal communities in Cornwall, UK. These capacities are place attachment, leadership, community cohesion and efficacy, community networks, and knowledge and learning. Based on a survey and focus group discussions, our results show that residents draw on these capacities in different combinations, enabling resilience in diverse ways. This provides a dynamic and socially nuanced perspective on community resilience as process, potentially informing theory and practice of conservation, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and community development.

Key words

community cohesion; community efficacy; community networks; community resilience; Cornwall; emergent property; knowledge; leadership; learning; place attachment

Copyright © 2018 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