Talk:Complex socio-ecological systems/Case studies

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April 1st - Case studies on Resilience of Complex SES - Discussion Postings
Anderies et al. 2006 has definitely been seminal in the wider adoption of resilience thinking, and I think it's very well presented. Nevertheless because it uses this metaphor of 15 weddings and a funeral one can't help but to point out that in fact what the authors have done is marry the corpse's bride: MSY and optimization may be dead as operable theories, but a lot of people would say the same about these 15 bright spots of matrimony.

Take the 10 points towards the end of the article. In 6 Anderies et al. make a call for "strategic interventions." How and where does one make a strategic intervention without coming into conflict with the problems of command and control that gave us MSY and the pathologies of management the authors criticize to begin with? Or point 7: is not an averaging of mental models to achieve a synthetic outcome exactly what a lot of collaborative/participatory researchers say is what's wrong to begin with--that it's simply too reductive to even out everyone's models without acknowledging power differentials? We could talk about other examples as well, including point 10, but perhaps it's quibbling considering the authors don't really expound on these points.

I will say, however, that my (ahem) honeymoon with SE resilience is still in force because of its acknowledge of complexity and nonlinearity, and that's on display in this piece. What's particularly promising here and in E&S research going forward, is the recognition of networks as a means to explain overlapping phenomena in vulnerability and resilience. It's really becoming a method that both social scientists and biophysical scientists can congregate around in a way that some of the tools to study management are not able to--say nothing of where the social scientists can fall in line under a SES research program when measuring, say, lake eutrophication a la some resilience-minded ecologists!

The promise we receive from this article, the dowry if you will, is that resilience is not and will not ever be a formalized theory. Anderies et al. state at multiple points, and in various ways, that resilience is a "collection of ideas about how to interpret complex systems." As long as we can accept that, and I believe not all of us in the seminar do, we shall have many years of marital bliss ahead of us. ~Sam