Mission and vision

Within the Institute for Societal Resilience (ISR) we collectively ask what it is that makes citizens, institutions and governance systems resilient in dealing with complex social issues, such as increasing social inequality, tensions between ethnic and religious communities, new forms of (cyber) crime, doubts about the welfare and systems of care and welfare.

Joining Forces

The ISR connects the expertise of FSW researchers to the expertise of professionals in so-called ‘expertise labs’. This collaboration creates on the one hand more scientific understanding of the complex dynamics of the social challenges we face today and offers on the other hand concrete insights on how to improve policies, methodologies and interventions for specific problems.

What is 'resilience'?

The term 'resilience' includes elements of flexibility and adaptability, but also strength, durability, and one’s ability to recover from setbacks. While the ISR has adopted the term resilience to describe this main conceptual focus, our research also includes all other elements of resilience that are not stressed here.

We start off with the notion that a society is resilient when individuals (micro), groups and organizations (meso) and societies (macro) in times of adversity, threats, disasters and wars are able to survive and adapt, and make most of the opportunity to find a way (back) to being a good (or even better) functioning social system and a healthy society.

We distinguish three main factors that contribute to a resilient social system:
  • Being aware of existing threats and making them openly negotiable;
  • Offering meaning, even in times of threat or after a traumatic event;
  • Creativity in the reassessment of existing patterns and improvisation in dealing with changing conditions.