Your Resilience is My Vulnerability: â€˜Rules in Useâ€™ in a Local Water Conflict
This paper uses an empirical analysis of a water conflict in the German state of Brandenburg to explore diverse constructions of vulnerability to water scarcity by local stakeholders. It demonstrates how, in the absence of effective formal institutions, these constructions are getting translated into conflictual resilience strategies practiced by these stakeholders, creating situations in which â€œyour resilience is my vulnerabilityâ€. The novel contribution of the paper to resilience research is threefold. Firstly, it illustrates how the vulnerability and resilience of a socio-ecological systemâ€”such as small catchmentâ€”are socially constructed; that is, how they are not given but rather the product of stakeholdersâ€™ perceptions of threats and suitable responses to them. Secondly, the paper emphasizes the role of institutionsâ€”both formal and informalâ€”in framing these vulnerability constructions and resilience strategies. Particular attention is paid to the importance of informal â€˜rules in useâ€™ emerging in the wake of (formal) â€˜institutional voidsâ€™ and how they work against collective solutions. Thirdly, by choosing a small-scale, commonplace dispute to study vulnerability and resilience, the paper seeks to redress the imbalance of resilience research (and policy) on dramatic disaster events by revealing the relevance of everyday vulnerabilities, which may be less eye-catching but are far more widespread.
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