Resilience: A Literature Review

Published on 8 December 2022

Resilience has, in the past four decades, been a term increasingly employed throughout a number of sciences: psychology and ecology, most prominently. Increasingly one finds it in political science, business administration, sociology, history, disaster planning, urban planning, and international development. The shared use of the term does not, however, imply unified concepts of resilience nor the theories in which it is embedded. Different uses generate different methods, sometimes different methodologies. Evidential or other empirical support can differ between domains of application, even when concepts are broadly shared. The review centres on three resilience frameworks, of increasing complexity: Engineering Resilience (or ‘Common Sense’ resilience); Systems Resilience, called Robustness in economics; and Resilience in Complex Adaptive Systems. Although each framework has historical roots in particular disciplines, the frameworks themselves can be applied to any domain: Engineering Resilience is utilised in some child development studies; Systems Resilience is often used in governance and management; and the Complex Adaptive Systems approach has been applied to economics, innovation in technology, history, and urban planning. Thus different frameworks along the spectrum offer a choice of perspective; the acceptability of trade-offs between them, and not subject matter, will ultimately determine which perspective is chosen.

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Martin-Breen, P. Anderies, JM. (2011) 'Resilience: A Literature Review' Bellagio Initiative, Brighton:IDS

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