Resilience: A Literature Review


The study of resilience has developed in discrete fields that have generated their own definitions of the concept relevant to the class of problems they address. Historically it has been applied in the fields of psychology and ecology, and currently it also has a strong presence in disaster planning and organizational management. Few studies, however, have offered a look at resilience—both its theory and applications—across these and related disciplines. This literature review was commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation to fill this gap. With a particular focus on research of the past 50 years in the areas of engineering, psychology, complex adaptive systems and economics, this review synthesizes both the theoretical underpinnings of resilience and compelling applications for an international development audience looking at issues that affect the poor and vulnerable.

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