Illusions of Resilience? An Analysis of Community Responses to Change

This article contributes to our understanding of community resilience. Community resilience is the ability of a community to cope and adjust to stresses caused by social, political, and environmental change and to engage community resources to overcome adversity and take advantage of opportunities in response to change. Through an analysis of local responses to multiple challenges, six dimensions of community resilience were found in one village in northern Norway. These dimensions; community resources, community networks, institutions and services, people–place connections, active agents, and learning; are activated in processes and activities in the village to respond to current challenges. Although this corroborates findings from other community resilience research, this research suggests that community resilience is both complex and dynamic over time. Although communities may consider themselves resilient to today’s challenges, the rate and magnitude of expected systemic global changes, especially climate change, means that future resilience cannot be taken for granted. This work concludes that there is a risk that community resilience may be an illusion, leading to complacency about the need for adaption to multiple factors of change. Hence, the ability of communities to actively engage in reflexive learning processes is of importance for both adaptation and future resilience.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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