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Agency, Capacity, and Resilience to Environmental Change: Lessons from Human Development, Well-Being, and Disasters

Posted: 5 Nov 2011  

Katrina Brown

University of East Anglia (UEA)

Elizabeth Westaway

University of East Anglia (UEA)

Date Written: November 2011

Abstract

Human agency is considered a key factor in determining how individuals and society respond to environmental change. This article synthesizes knowledge on agency, capacity, and resilience across human development, well-being, and disasters literature to provide insights to support more integrated and human-centered approaches to understanding environmental change. It draws out the key areas of agreement across these diverse fields and identifies the main points of contestation and uncertainty. This highlights the need to consider subjective and relational factors in addition to objective measures of capacity and to view these as reflexive and dynamic, as well as differentiated socially and temporally. These findings can help distinguish between coping, adaptation, and transformation as responses to environmental and other stressors.

Suggested Citation

Brown, Katrina and Westaway, Elizabeth, Agency, Capacity, and Resilience to Environmental Change: Lessons from Human Development, Well-Being, and Disasters (November 2011). Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Vol. 36, pp. 321-342, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1955076 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-052610-092905

Katrina Brown (Contact Author)

University of East Anglia (UEA) ( email )

Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom

Elizabeth Westaway

University of East Anglia (UEA)

Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom

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