Stasis and change: Social psychological insights into social-ecological resilience

E.V. Hobman, Iain Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 by the author(s). Ecologists have used the concept of resilience since the 1970s. Resilience also features in many of the social and economic sciences, though in a less central role and with a variety of interpretations. Developing a fuller understanding of the concept of socialecological resilience promises advances in how science can contribute to achieving better environmental outcomes, locally and globally. Such a development requires articulation of different perspectives on resilience and critical engagement across those perspectives. We present, in some detail, a particular perspective on resilience developed by the pioneering social psychologist Kurt Lewin. We suggest that Lewin’s explicit use of social-ecological systems in his framework presaged much of the current social-ecological understanding of resilience. We set out some key details of his framework, notably the characteristics of his field theory, his use of group dynamics as a vehicle for social change, his introduction and development of the principles of action research, and his three-step change model. We conclude by mentioning some areas of the framework that are under-theorized or not theorized at all.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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