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Resilience in practice: the 2006 drought in Southeast England

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2012
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Number of pages15
Original languageEnglish


Resilience is utilized in socioecological research as a powerful concept for understanding the dynamics of complex, nonlinear systems, especially in relation to adaptation to environmental stresses and climate change. In sociotechnical systems research, resilience is less well developed with the emerging debate indicating the need for understanding how resilience is defined by different sociopolitical agencies operating at different spatial and organizational scales. Using a case study of the 2006 drought in southeast England, we illustrate how resilience is invoked in the context of contemporary water management. The multiple meanings of resilience that emerge are broadly construed in accordance with market-environmental discourses and are aligned to the highly variable objectives of water managers, regulators, and house-holds operating across regional and local scales. We highlight the relative influence of different sociopolitical constructions of resilience in defining the possibilities for more and less sustainable manifestations of water management practice.