Is resilience socially constructed? Empirical evidence from Fiji, Ghana, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam

Béné, Christophe, Al-Hassan, Ramatu M., Amarasinghe, Oscar, Fong, Patrick, Ocran, Joseph, Onumah, Edward, Ratuniata, Rusiata, Tuyen, Truong Van, McGregor, J. Allister, and Mills, David J. (2016) Is resilience socially constructed? Empirical evidence from Fiji, Ghana, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Global Environmental Change, 38. pp. 153-170.

PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website:


The objective of this paper is to better understand the various individual and household factors that influence resilience, that is, people's ability to respond adequately to shocks and stressors. One of our hypotheses is that resilience does not simply reflect the expected effects of quantifiable factors such as level of assets, or even less quantifiable social processes such as people's experience, but is also determined by more subjective dimensions related to people's perceptions of their ability to cope, adapt or transform in the face of adverse events. Data collected over two years in Fiji, Ghana, Sri Lanka and Vietnam confirms the importance of wealth in the recovery process of households affected by shocks and stressors. However our results challenge the idea that within communities, assets are a systematic differentiator in people's response to adverse events. The findings regarding social capital are mixed and call for more research: social capital had a strong positive influence on resilience at the community level, yet our analysis failed to demonstrate any tangible positive correlation at the household level. Finally, the data confirm that, like vulnerability, resilience is at least in part socially constructed, endogenous to individual and groups, and hence contingent on knowledge, attitudes to risk, culture and subjectivity.

Item ID: 48374
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-9495
Additional Information:

This is an open access article under the CC-BY-NC-ND license (

Date Deposited: 25 May 2017 00:05
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4404 Development studies > 440499 Development studies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 1078
Last 12 Months: 70
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page