Enhance Social Experiences and Foster Social Resilience

This work is dedicated to the children caught in war, hunger, and fear. You are a ray of hope, a symbol of life, a beacon of love, and a vision of humanity.

For the last three years, I studied the concept of social resilience within different frames of reference (such as social psychology, climate change, crisis, and migration studies). The more I delved into the characteristics of social resilience, the more I departed away from the non-social views on social resilience that restrict it to merely a psychological understanding of human resilience, excluding the socio-political and socioecological dimensions of human lives. I found social resilience a dynamic concept that is complex and embedded in human-environment interactions and contextual diversities. Also, the interdependence of human in the social world evolves and contributes to their transformative experiences with changing environments.

Social resilience is a relatively recent term that relates to the social dimension of resilience. Initially defined as the ability to respond and withstand (crisis), the concept of social resilience has evolved into a multidimensional fluid concept that addresses learning and adaptation in many different kinds of contexts. Human interdependence develops and contributes to our transitioning experiences in changing contexts. Ultimately, it is all about our social experiences. Social resilience is shaped by our social experiences and interactions with the political, economic, cultural, and social environments. Hence, we need to recognize social resilience as a social phenomenon that, when fostered by better social experiences, may contribute to collective and holistic well-being. In my study of social resilience in the context of migrants’ lived experiences and social integration, I defined it as a socially constructed process (to survive and thrive together) shaped by social experiences and practices in the face of environmental changes and challenges. If I were to define social resilience in simple phrases that everyone (including children) could comprehend, I would say that it is “the experience of surviving and thriving together”.

In this short primer, I present a brief description of key characteristics that contribute to the process of social resilience. This primer is a pocket guide for everyone who wants to make a difference in collective social well-being. This primer provides powerful keywords that express the social aspects of resilience-building strategies, leading to better social experiences and greater social well-being. I hope that this social resilience primer will give a thorough understanding of how to promote social resilience through enhanced social experiences and behaviors.

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