Power in resilience and resilience’s power in climate change scholarship

Alicea Garcia*, Noémi Gonda, Ed Atkins, Naomi Godden, Karen Paiva Henrique, Meg Parsons, Petra Tsachkert, Gina Ziervogel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
129 Downloads (Pure)


Resilience thinking has undergone profound theoretical developments in recent decades, moving to characterize resilience as a socionatural process that requires constant negotiation between a range of actors and institutions. Fundamental to this understanding has been a growing acknowledgement of the role of power in shaping resilience capacities and politics across cultural and geographic contexts. This paper draws on a critical content analysis, applied to a systematic review of recent resilience literature to examine how scholarship has embraced nuanced conceptualizations of how power operates in resilience efforts, to move away from framings that risk reinforcing patterns of marginalization. Advancing a framework inspired by feminist theory and feminist political ecology, we analyze how recent work has presented, detailed, and conceptualized how resilience intersects with patterns of inequity. In doing so, we illuminate the importance of knowledge, scale, and subject making in understanding the complex ways in which power and resilience become interlinked. We illustrate how overlooking such complexity may have serious consequences for how socionatural challenges and solutions are framed in resilience scholarship, and in turn, how resilience is planned and enacted in practice. Finally, we highlight how recent scholarship is advancing the understandings necessary to make sense of the shifting, contested, and power-laden nature of resilience. Paying attention to, and building on, such complexity will allow scholarly work to illuminate the ways in which resilience is negotiated within inequitable processes and to address the marginalization of those continuing to bear the brunt of the climate crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere762
Number of pages21
JournalWIRES Climate Change
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by The University of Western Australia (UWA) Research Collaboration Award (RCA), a Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Research Development Fund (RDF) grant, and funding from the Swedish Research Council (VR‐Vetenskaprådet; No. 2018–05866). Funding Information

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. WIREs Climate Change published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


Dive into the research topics of 'Power in resilience and resilience’s power in climate change scholarship'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this