Conceptualizing Social Resilience in the Context of Migrants’ Lived Experiences

Currently, I am researching social resilience and migration, in the context of challenges and changes that shape migrants lives in the host country. My research project investigates the young adult migrants’ lived experiences in the host country with an emphasis on social resilience as a phenomenon characterized by the social experiences and practices of young adult migrants in the host country. In this connection, I see social resilience contingent on social experiences and interaction with the environment (as social actors) constructing and co-constructing the meaning of social aspects of the resilience. Hence, to conceptualize and investigate social resilience, I am interested in understanding social experience and social practices corresponding (3Cs) Change, Challenge, and Continutiy.To give voice to the 'social' in social resilience, I explore the concept of social resilience beyond its limited and displine-centred definition that conceptualizes it as abilty or capacity to withstand adversity. Gaining indepth insight of young adult migrants' lived experiences in Sweden, I ground the conceptulization of social resilience in the social experiences and practices providing a bottom-up perspective.
The current concept of social resilience, which developed from the classic definition of resilience, neglects social resilience as a social phenomenon including social experiences and practices in the face of change and adversity. I argue that framing social resilience as a capacity or ability undermines its characteristics as a complex and contextualized social phenomenon that contributes to adaptive and transformative abilities in the context of migrants’ lived experiences. I present a social constructionist approach to conceptualize social resilience. From a life course perspective, I emphasize on migrants’ lived experiences. In this context, I describe status, network, support, and visibility as four institutionally embedded dimensions of social resilience that interconnect environmental factors to impact social experiences and practices. Social resilience is a phenomenoncharacterized by migrants’ lived experiences marked by uncertainty and turning points embodied in the host country’s political, economic, cultural, and social contexts.

A social phenomenon characterized by vulnerable individuals’ or groups’ social experiences and social practices in the face of political, economic, cultural, and social (PECS) environmental changes and challenges. Individuals or groups going through this experience learn to re-examine their lives in the new context and shape their adaptive and transformational capabilities.

Social Dimensions of Resilience and Climate Change: A Rapid Review

The social dimensions of resilience and their relationship with social capital have received little attention in climate change research. This article aims to provide an understanding of the structural, cognitive, and human rights-based interconnection of social capital and the social dimension of resilience. This article provides a rapid review of published studies on the social dimensions of resilience in the context of climate change. The search yielded 26 articles, 18 of which were related to the social dimension of resilience and were selected for review. Based on the findings, I elaborate on social capital, social-psychological, and right-based approaches to theorize social capital. The findings indicate a link between social capital and the social dimensions of resilience. The structural foundation for social capital is provided by the interconnection of bonding, bridging, and linking. The social psychological approach is linked to cognitive social capital that contributes to collective psycho-social resilience. The human rights-based approach educates about the social dimension of resilience through the lens of equity and power. To survive and thrive in environmental threats, communal solidarity requires the social interconnectedness formed by all three forms of social capital integrating social system, social values, reciprocal engagement, and inclusive social actions. This article provides theoretical knowledge about three dimensions of social capital, elaborating on the interconnections and need for theoretical triangulation in climate change studies.
The social capital approach provides an explicit resource network that extends from 'in-group' to 'among-groups' and is linked to a larger social network or support organizations and institutions. The social psychological approach interprets and connects the internalized sense of shared risk and responsibility to collective identification and belongingness. This method is useful for understanding the psycho-social process that underpins in-group solidarity and collective resilience. The social capital approach and social-psychological approach facilitate the process of resilience simultaneously by providing psychological and social resources. Hence, the two approaches remain intact and interdependent going through crisis over time. The right-based approach is appealing because it employs two concurrent processes to investigate resilience. First, it reveals the structural formation of inequalities based on socially and culturally situated power status. Second, is the transformation process, which leads to inclusive participation, empowerment, and access to resource access. Though rarely used in studies (as compared to the other two approaches), the right-based approach significantly addresses empowerment with equality to create social connections for shared social interests and communal needs.

The three approaches to frame social capital in the context of climate change are interconnected and built on one another to investigate and comprehend the social dimension of resilience.

Poster Exhibition
April 2023 - Being Well? Social Resilience in a Changing World.

The poster exhibition aimed to present results and provoke thoughts based on research projects on social resilience during pandemics, climate challenges, migration processes, economic crises and political instabiliies.

Recommended Readings and Talks
A poster “Stop calling me RESILIENT” by Tracie Washington that she presented in the street of New Orleans in 2005.

“Every time you say, ‘Oh, they’re so resilient,’ that means you can do something else to me.”

@ (www.drazher.com) Azher Hameed Qamar, Ph.D