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A Decade of Resilience Research – in six ‘Ps’

My keynote talk at the recent Resilience 2017 conference gave a brief overview of last decade of research on resilience in social ecological systems. It highlighted the areas where the field has expanded to at the interdisciplinary interface with social sciences, and then posed some urgent challenges for SES resilience researchers. You can watch my talk here. I was honoured to share the stage with Carl Folke from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, on of the pioneers of SES resilience and a global thought-leader.

I focused my short talk on 6 Ps: four P’s that marked where SES resilience thinking has been really enriched by social science perspectives. These are the areas I think research has made important progress in confronting critiques and challenges in conceptualising the ‘social’ in social ecological systems.

People and their agency

Poverty and development

Power and politics

Place and its diverse meanings

I then identified two critical frontiers in our research:

Perspective taking and plurality, and the possibility of enhancing empathy as a means of making connections – between people, but also with non-human species and ecosystems, even the biosphere – in an increasingly divided world

Practice and how we actually do our research, which highlights to need to expand our repertoire of methods (the conference included interesting presentations and discussions about arts engagement), to work alongside and with different social actors, and also how we understand our role as researchers and as active agents in the SES we work on and within.

I discuss some of these challenges in an interview with Sturle Simonsen from Stockholm Resilience Centre.

The conference was full of energy, new ideas and lots of stimulating discussion. Wonderfully staged and brilliantly organised – my sincere thanks to the conveners for inviting me.

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