Critiques of neoliberal resilience point to the political, practical and conceptual dangers of framing resilience as an individualised trait or process. Alongside this, there is growing awareness that whole systems approaches, including coproducing with disadvantaged citizens and communities, need to be taken to solve our most pressing problems both in the UK and worldwide.
The centre draws in people from local, national and international systems in pursuit of a shared vision as we develop approaches and explore the concepts of collective and community resilience.
We are particularly interested in the degree to which the concept of resilience can be drawn upon in promoting a sense of collective action and identity. We have developed the idea of fifth wave resilience research which builds on Masten’s four waves to suggest a more politicised, co-productive and potentially community-oriented notion of resilience. Some of our work explores mass emergency behaviour and celebrates the remarkable resilience that people and communities can show in the face of threat and adversity, taking a critical view of the notion of mass ‘panic’ in disasters, arguing that it almost never happens.
Approaches to resilience often consider it in terms of an individual trait and so have focussed on personal and/or developmental aspects of resilience in response to stress and/or trauma. However, the Social Identity Model of Collective Resilience (SIMCR) that Cocking has developed with colleagues (Drury et al, 2009) from their studies of mass emergencies argues that it is also necessary to consider collective resilience and how it can emerge from the shared common identity that can emerge during such emergencies, which encourages support and co-operation rather than selfish ‘panicked’ behaviour. Moreover, the SIMCR suggests that resilience can be part of a collective process that develops from a shared sense of fate that encourages the provision and expectation of social support among survivors.