Handbook on Resilience of Socio-Technical Systems
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Handbook on Resilience of Socio-Technical Systems

Edited by Matthias Ruth and Stefan Goessling-Reisemann

The goal to improve the resilience of social systems – communities and their economies – is increasingly adopted by decision makers. This unique and comprehensive Handbook focuses on the interdependencies of these social systems and the technologies that support them. Special attention is given to the ways in which resilience is conceptualized by different disciplines, how resilience may be assessed, and how resilience strategies are implemented. Case illustrations are presented throughout to aid understanding.
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Chapter 2: Towards a responsible resilience

Axel Schaffer and Martin Schneider


Resilience is always context specific and pragmatic. Shocks and changes are reckoned with by the system, (probably) indicated by early warning indicators, and responded to. Response is not limited to immediate threat response but includes long-term learning and self-regulation processes. Thus, resilience is not a pre-existing system property. Instead, it is taking shape over time when undergoing crises and change. We argue that resilient systems do not just develop randomly in an arbitrary direction, as does an ordinary maturing process, but that development trajectories need to be built proactively and normatively. Normativity, however, should not be derived exogenously from general ethical standards but could instead be reconstructed endogenously from the concept of resilience itself. In light of global climate change, for example, a resilient global economy should account for its mutual interdependencies with social and ecological systems, the preservation of response diversity and the strengthening of (local) learning and control capacities.

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