Topic: Resilience of Villages as Systems
Since the late 1990s the use of the term resilience has experienced a bonanza1. It is not only used in a
ubiquitous and transdisciplinary manner in European cohesion and regional policy design2, but in the
meantime it has risen to become a key element of scientific and popular scientific publications3. In
the context of declining populations, economic degrowth and ecological imbalance, village
communities in so-called shrinking rural areas are perceived mainly as losers4. The contentious
concept of resilience5 may possibly deliver empowering answers for dealing successfully with these
threatening processes of change in the countryside.
But, can the resilience concept explain why some rural communities adapt to change more
successfully than others and even why some thrive despite adverse circumstances? What does it
mean to be a resilient village community, what system properties do those which are resilient
possess and how can these system properties be enhanced?
This research aims to contribute to further theory development as well as to establishing resilience
research in the context of spatial and regional sciences. How to build and manage resilience in
villages will be examined by setting up a conceptual framework for rural and village resilience based
on three bodies of research of particular importance for the conceptualization of resilience in the
spatial and regional sciences: social ecology, psychology and community development. Also the
interdisciplinary, systems and complexity thinking approach is of vital importance for this research.
This framework is to be put to the test in a comparative European study in a German, an English and
a Spanish village.
During the ESRS19 Conference findings and outcomes from the empirical testing of the named
framework in the specially dynamic and vibrant villages of Wooler (UK), Albarracín (ES) and
Oberndorf an der Oste (DE) will be shared and discussed with the attending public.
References (numbered in order of appearance):
1 Bürkner, H. J. (2010). Vulnerabilität und Resilienz – Forschungsstand und sozialwissenschaftliche
Untersuchungsperspektiven (No. 43) (Vol. 2010). Erkner. Retrieved from http://www.irsnet.
1, 3 Vogt, M. (2015). Zauberwort Resilienz. In Einführung zur Tagung “Zauberwort Resilienz. Was stärkt in
Zeiten des radikalen Wandel?” (pp. 51–67). Tutzing.
2, 5 Wink, R., Deppisch, S., Fingerle, M., Forstmeier, S., Lukesch, R., Thoma, K. et al. (2016).
Multidisziplinäre Perspektiven der Resilienzforschung. (R. Wink, Ed.). Wiesbaden: Springer
Fachmedien Wiesbaden. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-09623-6
4 Schneider, M. (2015). Auf Verwundbarkeit achten, Resilienz stärken. Perspektiven für widerstandsfähige und lernende ländliche Räume. Argumente Und Materialien Zum Zeitgeschehen, 97, 119–125.
5 Christopherson, S., Michie, J., & Tyler, P. (2010). Regional resilience: Theoretical and empirical perspectives. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 3(1), 3–10. http://doi.org/10.1093/cjres/rsq004
5 Gruber, M. (2011). Regionale Resilienz – Neue Anforderungen für Österreichs Regionalpolitik? Wien.
5 Martin, R., & Sunley, P. (2014). On the Notion of Regional Economic Resilience : Conceptualisation and Explanation. Journal of Economic Geography. Retrieved from Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography # 13.20%5CnOn the Notion of Regional Economic Resilience: Conceptualisation and Explanation%5CnRon Martin and Peter Sunley http://econ.geog.uu.nl/peeg/peeg.html