Resilient development in social science ecological systems
What is the 'Resilient development in social science ecosystems' project?
This is a Professorial Fellowship held by Professor Katrina Brown at the School of International Development, University of East Anglia.(2009-2012)
See story on LWEC website.
What is meant by resilience?
Resilience is a ‘buzzword’ that is currently prevalent in policy and public discourse, related to change, risk and uncertainty, and a sense of cascading crises. Yet resilience has quite specific meanings in different scientific fields, describing how individuals, systems and materials respond to shocks and disturbance. This research aims to advance theoretical and conceptual understanding of resilience across the social sciences and inform policy discussions and governance strategies which take a resilience approach.
Reslience is the ability of a system to absorb a disturbance and still retain its basic structure and function. This involves three properties:
a) the amount of change a system can undergo
b) the degree to which it can reorganise
c) the degree to which the system can build capacity to learn and adapt.
Resilience is therefore about how to understand and manage change and about working with change, rather than trying to maintain equilibrium.
A resilience approach can be used to understand how societies respond to and cope with change.
What will the project do?
- analyse narratives of environmental change and the winners and losers in society resulting from it
- deepen understanding of how individuals frame and understand resilience
- explore the implications of of implementing resilience-led policy
- inform international development and to assess if taking a resilience approach will mean a radical re-think of development theory, policy and practice.
Who will benefit?
Policy and practice will be informed by the application of resilience in areas such as vulnerability assessments, climate change adapatation and development which is robust to climate change.
The Department for International Development, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will benefit directly from dialogue with the researchers and findings will feed into discussions on 'climate proofing development'.
The research will be relevant to the
- United Nations Development Programme http://www.undp.org
- United Nations Environment Programme on its Climate-Resilient Development strategy http://www.unep.org
- the World Bank in its new work on the social impacts of climate change
- The research will be able to help understand how individuals, communities and societies can respond to environmental change
- This will be useful for organisations such as Oxfam, Practical Action, Christian Aid and WWF.
PROGRAMME FACTS AND FIGURES
Start and end date: 01/01/2009 to 31/03/2012
Total investment: £250k
Useful website: http://www.resalliance.org