Understanding Polycrisis: Definitions, Applications, and Responses

27 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2024

See all articles by Sienna Mark

Sienna Mark

Independent

Samantha Holder

Independent

Daniel Hoyer

Independent

Rod Schoonover

Independent

Daniel P. Aldrich

Northeastern University - College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Security and Resilience Program

Date Written: October 5, 2023

Abstract

The term “polycrisis” has broken into the lexicon of a growing circle of academics, policymakers, and the public. Herein, we compare conceptualizations of the term, raising questions about the key aspects of different definitions while stressing a convergence in critical features. We envision a polycrisis as a state in which multiple, macroregional, ecologically embedded, and inexorably interconnected systems face high – and advancing – risk across socioeconomic, political, and other dimensions. We differentiate the term from others widely used, such as cascading disasters, compound disasters, and recurring acute disasters. Further, we locate historical events along a spectrum of such critical moments, concluding with several concrete recommendations for communities seeking to build democratic resilience in the face of these ongoing stressors.

Keywords: Polycrisis, Cascading Disaster, Compound Disaster, Recurring Acute Disaster

Suggested Citation

Mark, Sienna and Holder, Samantha and Hoyer, Daniel and Schoonover, Rod and Aldrich, Daniel P., Understanding Polycrisis: Definitions, Applications, and Responses (October 5, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4593383 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4593383

Samantha Holder

Independent ( email )

Daniel Hoyer

Independent ( email )

Rod Schoonover

Independent ( email )

Daniel P. Aldrich

Northeastern University - College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Security and Resilience Program ( email )

360 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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