Understanding societal resilience: The case for engaged scholarship

Rosanne Anholt, Caroline Van Dullemen, Juliana Santos De Carvalho, Joris Rijbroek, Stijn Sieckelinck, Marieke W. Slootman

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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Societal resilience is an emerging paradigm. It refers to responses and strategies at the level of individuals, groups, organizations, and societies that are dealing with complex societal problems. At the same time, these responses contribute to innovative solutions that make society more resilient to current and future challenges. Societal resilience is, however, conceptually relatively undefined. This ambiguity is generally seen as problematic for scholarly work. In this chapter, the authors show that societal resilience is an important social concept because of its openness. To study resilience requires research methodologies that engage many actual stakeholders. Collaborating with societal stakeholders allows not only for co-generating knowledge of local relevance, but also stimulating a comprehensive and critical research approach. Therefore, the current openness of societal resilience does not constitute an undesirable theory gap. It enables the possibility of having plural perspectives based on the complex realities on the ground.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultisystemic Resilience
Subtitle of host publicationAdaptation and Transformation in Contexts of Change
EditorsMichael Ungar
PublisherThe Oxford University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780190095895, 9780190095901, 9780197541159
ISBN (Print)9780190095888
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2021.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Action research
  • Engaged scholarship
  • Inclusiveness
  • Societal resilience
  • Transformation


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