Institute for Societal Resilience

Societal challenges are manifold: international conflicts, financial crisis, increasing social inequality, tensions between ethnic and religious communities, new types of (cyber)crime, serious doubts about the welfare state and its systems of care and health, et cetera. The future of societies will be one of constant flux and transformation. That raises the question whether our societies are ‘resilient’ in coping with them.

The concept of ‘societal resilience’ refers to responses and strategies at the individual, group, institutional and societal level, that are innovative and effective and that contribute to ‘a better world’. A resilient society not just tries to respond to disruption and crisis by trying to bring the system back into balance, but rather tries to develop solutions that bring a system in a new state that is capable of dealing with present and future challenges.  

The many challenges ask for fundamental rethinking of existing paradigms of problem solution. How do we currently deal with those problems and what might qualify as ‘resilient’ approaches for the future?

The research programme on ‘societal resilience’ aims to improve our understanding of the fundamental problems societies are facing and how to address them by societal organizations and public organizations. Many research groups in the faculty are working on different aspects of the sketched agenda. Integrating their work in a joint research programme will enhance the innovativeness and societal relevance of our research efforts.

ISR focuses on societal resilience. Four (sub)themes will be leading:

Refugees in the Netherlands
The refugee crisis is a 'wicked problem' that is analyzed by the ISR scientists. Their multidisciplinary approach provides the comprehensive view that is required to take the different angles into account.

Talma lecture 2016
This year René Bekkers delivered the Talma lecture. In Foundations of Societal Resilience he explores the meaning of resilience. 

Seminar Governing (In)Security Through Resilience
The seminar Governing (In)Security Through Resilience: Problems and Promises contributed to the on-going debate about resilience in the context of insecurity and humanitarian action to crises.