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Fluid resilience - opening up the agenda

Date: 24 May 2006 Time: 13.00-14.00 pm

Venue: IAS Meeting Room 1

Speaker: Will Medd

The concept of resilience has received very little explicit attention within sociological literature. Often used in contrast to notions of 'vulnerability', competing conceptions of resilience have proliferated across a wide range of other disciplines. When we look across these different literatures different meanings of resilience, with different implications for what building resilience might mean emerge. Resilience is sometimes manifest as, for example, persistence, resistance, stability, stasis, continuity, innovation, adaptation, transformation, immunity and recovery. Of particular relevance to the water sector is a literature on the how to build socio-ecological resilience. Typically there is increased talk about resilience in the form of 'adaptive capacity' building on the work of thee ecologist CS Holling. Through this perspective, resilience is no longer understood in terms of a system returning to a steady state, but as the ability of the systems to adapt in co-evolution with it's environment.

In this paper I argue that while there is value in that approach, we need to also understand how a systems resilience - for example of the water sector - is emergent from the interactions between different forms of resilience across differentscales and contexts.

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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