Combining specific and general resilience: the role of collective action in influencing community responses to change
Resilience theory suggests that communities are to be able to respond to both known shocks - specific resilience - as well as to a range of other disturbances and changes, including extreme events and surprises – general resilience. However, understanding what action communities can undertake to combine and apply specific and general resilience is limited, as there has been no systematic analysis of the role of collective action within community resilience research. Based on key informant interviews and focus group discussions with residents of two coastal towns located in the Garden Route, South Africa, and Cornwall, UK, this paper presents an empirical example of how collective action shapes general and specific resilience in practice. Results show how discrete collective action better supports communities in responding to known identified shocks. Yet, it is how these collective actions around specific resilience combine, and the benefits they provide for whom, together with contextual factors, that enables or hinders a community in responding to different and multiple changes. In particular, it is active individuals who bridge specific collective actions by drawing on established networks and channels of trust, knowledge and skills that connects responses perceived to confer general resilience. This informs current debates in community resilience literature around how collective action affects resilience differently when building general resilience compared to responding to a specific shock or hazard. It also applies to community resilience management. General and specific resilience can be mutually supportive of each other as they are not perceived to compete for management attention.
Contributed session oral presentation
Wednesday, 23 August
11:00 - 12:30
11:00 - 12:30