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Why resilience is unappealing to social science : Theoretical and empirical investigations of the scientific use of resilience

Olsson, Lennart LU ; Jerneck, Anne LU ; Thorén, Henrik LU ; Persson, Johannes LU and O Byrne, David LU (2015) In Science advances 1(4).
Abstract
Resilience is often promoted as a boundary concept to integrate the social and natural dimensions of sustainability. However, it is a troubled dialogue from which social scientists may feel detached. To explain this, we first scrutinize the meanings, attributes, and uses of resilience in ecology and elsewhere to construct a typology of definitions. Second, we analyze core concepts and principles in resilience theory that cause disciplinary tensions between the social and natural sciences (system ontology, system boundary, equilibria and thresholds, feedback mechanisms, self-organization, and function). Third, we provide empirical evidence of the asymmetry in the use of resilience theory in ecology and environmental sciences compared to... (More)
Resilience is often promoted as a boundary concept to integrate the social and natural dimensions of sustainability. However, it is a troubled dialogue from which social scientists may feel detached. To explain this, we first scrutinize the meanings, attributes, and uses of resilience in ecology and elsewhere to construct a typology of definitions. Second, we analyze core concepts and principles in resilience theory that cause disciplinary tensions between the social and natural sciences (system ontology, system boundary, equilibria and thresholds, feedback mechanisms, self-organization, and function). Third, we provide empirical evidence of the asymmetry in the use of resilience theory in ecology and environmental sciences compared to five relevant social science disciplines. Fourth, we contrast the unification ambition in resilience theory with methodological pluralism. Throughout, we develop the argument that incommensurability and unification constrain the interdisciplinary dialogue, whereas pluralism drawing on core social scientific concepts would better facilitate integrated sustainability research. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Science advances
volume
1
issue
4
publisher
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
external identifiers
  • pmid:26601176
ISSN
2375-2548
DOI
10.1126/sciadv.1400217
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
30b9bbf6-49a4-4f4f-910c-610bdf0aa786 (old id 5431041)
date added to LUP
2015-05-26 09:40:00
date last changed
2016-09-20 04:26:07
@article{30b9bbf6-49a4-4f4f-910c-610bdf0aa786,
  abstract     = {Resilience is often promoted as a boundary concept to integrate the social and natural dimensions of sustainability. However, it is a troubled dialogue from which social scientists may feel detached. To explain this, we first scrutinize the meanings, attributes, and uses of resilience in ecology and elsewhere to construct a typology of definitions. Second, we analyze core concepts and principles in resilience theory that cause disciplinary tensions between the social and natural sciences (system ontology, system boundary, equilibria and thresholds, feedback mechanisms, self-organization, and function). Third, we provide empirical evidence of the asymmetry in the use of resilience theory in ecology and environmental sciences compared to five relevant social science disciplines. Fourth, we contrast the unification ambition in resilience theory with methodological pluralism. Throughout, we develop the argument that incommensurability and unification constrain the interdisciplinary dialogue, whereas pluralism drawing on core social scientific concepts would better facilitate integrated sustainability research.},
  articleno    = {e1400217},
  author       = {Olsson, Lennart and Jerneck, Anne and Thorén, Henrik and Persson, Johannes and O Byrne, David},
  issn         = {2375-2548},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  publisher    = {American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)},
  series       = {Science advances},
  title        = {Why resilience is unappealing to social science : Theoretical and empirical investigations of the scientific use of resilience},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1400217},
  volume       = {1},
  year         = {2015},
}