Tuesday 6
Resilience at the margin 2
Gary Kofinas
› 15:40 - 16:40 (1h)
› JOFFRE 1-2
Resilience at the Margin
Gary Kofinas  1@  
1 : Dept of Humans & Environment and Institute of Arctic Biology University of Alaska Fairbanks  -  Website

Societies situated at the margins of dominant society face unique challenges in maintaining and building social-ecological resilience. These groups have been negatively affected by expropriation of natural resources, unspecified property rights, political inequities, significant cultural differences, and persistent poverty. Societies at the margin have also been the subject of much study. World Systems Theory has used peripheral-core relations with a focus on political economy. Studies on “weapons of the weak” have examined the strategies of marginalized peoples and their “everyday forms of resistance”. More recently political ecology has worked from the assumption that environmental change comes with inequities and reinforcing feedbacks, and that power and context matter in shaping outcomes. From a social-ecological systems perspective and from the lens of sustainability managing commons, scholars have addressed small-scale societies and their management of shared resources. Poverty and rigidity traps are two significant contributions from Resilience Theory in the discourse on these systems.


Still, many questions remain. How do the ideas of adaptation and transformation play in these types of systems? How can resilience thinking inform understanding their patterns of behavior, dynamics, and mechanisms of change? How can better understanding of this class of systems translate into action at the individual, household, community, and greater levels? The recent idea of “antifragile” also suggests the need to consider how disturbance can increase social-ecological resilience. This session seeks to explore these questions and generate a framework for future comparative studies and synthesis. 


We request a three hour session. The first hour of the session will include presentations on background and definitions and a set of briefly presented case studies (speed talks) that capture key dimensions of resilience at the margin. Attendees, including presenters and others, of the session will then work towards articulating a common framework for analyzing resilience at the margin for the remaining two hours. 


Our list of case studies and presenters include:


  • Neil Adger: Transformations in marginal social-ecological systems in the southwest coastal zone of Bangladesh
  • Helen Adams: Sense of place and resilience in marginal populations of the highlands of Peru
  • Fikret Berkes: Food security in the Canadian North
  • Bruce Forbes: Cultural resilience by the Nenets of Russia in the face of extensive gas development
  • Georgina Cundill: Social and ecological trade-offs at the margin: Land claims and the pursuit of historical redress in South Africa
  • Terry Chapin et al: Facilitating Local Transformation: Boundary-spanning collaborations to facilitate community-led adaptations for self-reliance and sustainability in Alaska
  • Shauna BurnSilver: How informal institutions add resilience to rural SESs of Alaska and Kenya
  • Gary Kofinas: Cash or culture? – Strategies and their tradeoffs for community resilience

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