Resilience and Disasters

  • James M. Kendra
  • Lauren A. Clay
  • Kimberly B. Gill
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


Resilience is a prominent topic in disaster research, attracting the attention of scholars in many disciplines. Resilience is also the goal of policymakers and experts in public and private sectors. Yet, while proponents advance resilience as an explanation for how systems fare in disaster, others advance arguments that resilience is a diversion from more useful research and efficacious policies. Some also argue that the focus on resilience forms a justification for government retreat from risk management in favor of seemingly more beneficial personal or market-oriented solutions. This chapter introduces the origins of present thinking about resilience and briefly traces its evolution through different fields of study. Next, it covers some of the prominent recent approaches to defining and measuring elements of resilience and recent debates on the topic. The authors conclude by arguing that resilience, though sometimes controversial, has provided a theoretical foundation for truly integrated interdisciplinary approaches to disaster.


Community resilience Resilience metrics Disaster theory 



Research for this chapter was supported in part by grants from the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“Promoting Community Resilience in New York City after Hurricane Sandy: A Model-Based Approach.” James Kendra, principal investigator) and from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“Development of a Community Resilience Index” and “Harmonization, Continued Development, and Preliminary Validation of the Composite of Post-Event Well-Being (CoPE-WELL) and National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI).” Jonathan Links, principal investigator). The views presented here are solely those of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James M. Kendra
    • 1
  • Lauren A. Clay
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kimberly B. Gill
    • 1
  1. 1.Disaster Research CenterUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Health Services AdministrationD’Youville CollegeBuffaloUSA

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