Resilience narratives

Posted by on February 19, 2015 in CADWAGO blog | 0 comments

Resilience narratives

In Cadwago two pieces of work have been done related to how stakeholders perceive the ecosystem (i.e., their resilience paradigm). They looked at different resilience narratives.

Resilience fingerprint

The Canadian team at ESRC, Brock University, led by Ryan Plummer, analysed the case studies within Cadwago in relation to four narratives: engineering, ecological, social-ecological, and epistemic resilience narratives. They assessed a ‘Resilience fingerprint’, defined by four considerations, for each case study and looked at patterns emerging from the cross-case analysis. The ‘resilience fingerprint’ resulted from the analysis of key documents considered to be of central importance to understanding water issues at the heart of each case. Displaying the resilience fingerprints visually helped to discern the presence of patterns in terms of proportion of passages that related to each consideration and each resilience narrative. Aspects used to assess a resilience fingerprint of a case study

Results indicate that engineering and ecological resilience framings tended to occur in different axes in the resilience fingerprint (i.e., for different considerations) and often in isolation of other resilience framings. The social-ecological resilience framing often co-occurred with other framings (i.e., it is not the only lens employed within a consideration). The social-ecological framing of resilience tended to be oriented more frequently towards ‘system boundary’ and ‘relationships and functions’ considerations. The enduring and persistent expression of State approaches to water governance in the written documents examined stands in contrast to the proliferation of alternative governance approaches in the literature. The paper which describes this approach in more detail is currently under review.

Diversity of resilience narratives

In the paper “Meeting the ‘Anthropocene’ in the context of intractability and complexity: infusing resilience narratives with intersubjectivity”, Neil Powell, Rasmus Klocker Larsen and Severine van Bommel explore four resilience narratives as well, but framed slightly differently: engineering, social-ecological, epistemic and intersubjective resilience narratives. The full text is available here. This is the abstract of the paper:

“Insufficient attention has been paid to how concepts of resilience can be operationalised in wicked, contested situations. Within the environmental sciences, the contemporary social-ecological resilience narrative is not geared to examining social dilemmas in ill-defined problem contexts. These conditions require a different resilience narrative, one centred on epistemological and ontological considerations. This paper examines four resilience narratives (engineering, social-ecological, epistemic and intersubjective) in order to stimulate an improved awareness of the possibility of more deliberative choices for research and governance in the resilience domain. We argue that the resilience research community needs to be more cognizant of the diversity of resilience narratives in order to empower and learn from the perspectives and local practices of stakeholders, who will often express narratives better aligned to the wicked situation at hand. Ultimately, the resilience narratives of the research community can be little more than toolkits to support greater understanding of the diversity of people, perspectives and ‘performances’ jointly narrating the ‘real’ stories of our wicked and contested realities.”

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