The Interplay of Wellbeing and Resilience in Applying a Social-Ecological Perspective

Published on 3 December 2012

Innovative combinations of social and ecological theory are required to deal with complexity and change in humanecological systems. We examined the interplay and complementarities that emerge by linking resilience and social wellbeing approaches.

First, we reflected on the limitations of applying ecological resilience concepts to social systems from the perspective of social theory, and particularly, the concept of wellbeing. Second, we examined the interplay of resilience and wellbeing concepts in fostering a social-ecological perspective that promises more appropriate management and policy actions.

We examined five key points of interplay:

  1. the limits of optimization thinking (e.g., maximum sustainable yield),
  2. the role of human agency and values,
  3. understandings of scale,
  4. insights on “controlling variables”,
  5. perspectives on thresholds and boundaries.

Based on this synthesis, we offer insights to move incrementally towards interdisciplinary research and governance for complex social-ecological systems.

Publication details

Armitage, D., Béné, C., Charles, A. T., Johnson, D. and Allison, E. H.
Ecology and Society, volume 4, issue 17


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