Switzerland: Vulnerability & Resilience

SP 4/Switzerland: Conceptualizing resilience

Development of a ‘Multilayered Social Resilience’ Framework

While resilience has been conceptualized in the field of ecology and child development psychology, the conceptualization of social resilience has been neglected in social sciences. In order to fill this gap a new ‘Multilayered Social Resilience’ framework has been developed.

This framework emphasizes the interactions between protective-enabling factors and capacities operating at different levels of society. Protective-enabling factors help to master threats by facilitating access to and transformation of capitals. Capacities lead social actors not only to cope with adverse conditions (reactive) but also to create responses (proactive) that increase competence and thus create pathways for mitigation. Resilience is multilayered and can be built by actors on various levels (from the household up to the international level).

This approach redirects attention from managing risk to building resilience, an important prerequisite for sustainable development.

Project Leader: Prof. Dr. Brigit Obrist

Team members: Dr. Constanze Pfeiffer, Dr. Bob Henley


Theoretical contribution to resilience thinking from a coupled human-environment systems perspective

In the field of coupled human-environment systems or social-environment systems (SES) approaches interesting insights have been gained over the past decade. Vulnerability and resilience approaches are needed to identify options for a sustainable development in SES. It requires an approach in which boundaries, complexities and dynamics of the systems are analyzed. Scenario building will help to identify and analyze different possible mitigation strategies which – if translated by ICT – will produce convincing evidence for decision makers.

Project Leader: Dr. Martin Cassel-Gintz