Spontaneous order of adaptability: An assessment of the literature on social-ecological resilience
2012 (English)In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
This paper analyzes how adaptability is conceptualized (framed) in the literature on resilience and social-ecological systems (SES). SES are sometimes analyzed as complex adaptive systems (CAS) where human responses are seen as spontaneous and self-organized adaptations by autonomous agents with no analysis of their intentions or strategies. However, in other studies of SES, intentions and conflicts are emphasized and analyzed. Research on SES furthermore tends to differ in the degree of normative connotations associated with resilience and adaptability. For these two dimensions – spontaneous vs. intentional, and descriptive vs. normative – we developed a coding scheme and analyzed the complete sample of 183 papers in the field of found in ISI web of science published before 1st of Jan 2011. The results reveal a plurality of framings. We discuss the strengths and problems with this, aiming to provide a better understanding of some of the normative challenges in research on adaptive governance, resilience, and SES. We discuss CAS and find that the problem is not the use of self-organization in relation to scales or levels of governance, e.g. that responses can emerge through leadership and stakeholder interaction at a local level without being forced by external factors. The problem is when such interaction is as assumed to be autonomous and harmonious. Finally we provide our own definition of adaptability as necessarily ecologically informed, but we do not equate adaptability with “successful responses” in order to not confuse the concept with the outcome. Evaluating outcomes is ultimately an empirical question.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Adaptive co-management; Adaptive capacity; Natural Resource Management; Economic efficiency
Other Natural Sciences
Research subject Natural Resources Management
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-74835OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-74835DiVA: diva2:512321