What lies beyond social capital? The role of social psychology in building community resilience to climate change

Ntontis, Evangelos, Drury, John, Amlôt, Richard, Rubin, Gideon James and Williams, Richard (2019) What lies beyond social capital? The role of social psychology in building community resilience to climate change. Traumatology. ISSN 1085-9373

[img] PDF (©APA 2019. This paper is not the version of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document to be published. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission.) - Accepted Version
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (656kB)


Climate change is increasing the prevalence and impact of extreme events, which may have severe psychosocial after-effects for the people and communities who are affected. To mitigate their impact, governments advocate developing community resilience. Most approaches to community resilience employ the concept of social capital, suggesting that communities with more dense pre-existing networks of trust and reciprocity are more likely to prepare for, respond to, and recover more effectively from disasters. Notwithstanding its benefits, we argue that social capital cannot account for microprocesses of disaster behaviour such as groups that emerge in absence of any pre-existing ties and provide social support. We propose a new conceptualisation of aspects of community resilience based on the social identity approach in social psychology and grounded upon the principles of collective psychosocial resilience – the way that shared identification allows groups to emerge, coordinate, express solidarity and provide social support. We argue that our approach overcomes the limitations of social capital, because it can explain the processes of group behaviour in disasters, acknowledges people’s propensity to organise collectively, promotes bottom-up approaches to community resilience, recognises emergent communities, and suggests evidence-based recommendations for policy and practice. Finally, we propose an agenda for future research.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Sanjeedah Choudhury
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2019 11:58
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2020 11:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/85558

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update