Special Issue "Constructing Resilience, Negotiating Vulnerability"


A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2013)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Gabriela Christmann
Leibniz-Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning Erkner, Flakenstr. 28-31, 15537 Erkner, Germany
Website: http://www.irs-net.de/kontakt/mitarbeiter.php?id=171
E-Mail: christmann@irs-net.de
Interests: dynamics of communication; knowledge and (socio-)spatial development; social networks; social innovation; climate change issues

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Gernot Grabher
Urban and Regional Economic Studies, HCU Hamburg, Winterhuder Weg 31, D-22085 Hamburg, Germany
Website: https://www.hcu-hamburg.de/master/stadtplanung/arbeitsgebiete/gernot-grabher/people/gernot-grabher/
E-Mail: gernot.grabher@hcu-hamburg.de
Phone: +49 40 42827 4561
Fax: +49 40 42827 4569
Interests: economic geography; network research; knowledge production; social media; cultural and creative industries

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Oliver Ibert
Leibniz-Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning Erkner, Flakenstr. 28-31, 15537 Erkner, Germany
Website: http://www.irs-net.de/kontakt/mitarbeiter.php?id=195
E-Mail: ibert@irs-net.de
Interests: knowledge practices in communities and networks; user-induced innovation; temporary organizations; labor market vulnerability and resilience; regional and urban governance

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Heiderose Kilper
Leibniz-Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning Erkner, Flakenstr. 28-31, 15537 Erkner, Germany
Website: http://www.irs-net.de/kontakt/mitarbeiter.php?id=24
E-Mail: kilper@irs-net.de
Interests: spatial governance; cultural landscapes; vulnerability and resilience; and federalism in the German Federal Republic

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

During the last decades, perceptions of the future have become more and more alarmistic. The world, it seems, lives in a permanent state of emergency. Societal discourses about future prospects increasingly turned from valuing indeterminacy as an opportunity to perceiving uncertainty as a threat. Such discomforting sentiments are corroborated by the accounts on natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy or socio-technical misjudgements as unveiled by the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima. Somewhere between resignation and the belief to control risks a ‘new language of preparedness’ (Ash Amin) is emerging.
The aim of the special issue is to scrutinize the analytical potential of vulnerability and resilience as keywords in this new language of preparedness and to explore processes of socio-technical construction of resilience across manifold empirical fields. In generic terms, vulnerability involves the processes of negotiating the value of entities that are potentially threatened by hazards. These threats can unfold gradually (‘slow burn’) or abruptly (‘shocks’), they are possibly irreversible, and also might constrain vital functions of the respective entities. The notion resilience addresses the ability of a threatened entity to survive possible harms. Resilience can either be achieved by the entity’s robustness to ‘bounce back’ into its former shape or by its flexibility to change its internal structures and by cultivating a robust state of adaptability.
While initially mainly used for the analysis of natural disasters, the notions vulnerability and resilience are increasingly employed to conceptualize societal challenges, organizational change as well as economic or regional crises. However, these debates have remained quite disconnected until today. The special issue aims at offering a cross-disciplinary ‘trading zone’ about the notions’ social scientific analytical potentials and socio-spatial implications. Authors from various disciplines ranging from geography and sociology to economy, political science and planning are invited to submit papers that address one or several of the following interrelated issues:

  • Vulnerability and Resilience as Cognitive Constructs: Perceptions
  • Resilience as Dynamic and Systemic Construct: Adaptability
  • Resilience as Political Con­struct: Governance

Dr. Gabriela Christmann
Prof. Dr. Gernot Grabher
Prof. Dr. Oliver Ibert
Prof. Dr. Heiderose Kilper
Guest Editors


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • resilience
  • vulnerability
  • risk-society
  • hazards
  • risk perception
  • preparedness
  • bouncing back
  • high-reliability organizations
  • heterarchy

Published Papers (7 papers)

Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(3), 308-313; doi:10.3390/socsci3030308
Received: 16 May 2014; in revised form: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 26 June 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (37 KB)

by ,  and
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(2), 272-287; doi:10.3390/socsci3020272
Received: 20 December 2013; in revised form: 5 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 May 2014 / Published: 4 June 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (140 KB)

by  and
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(1), 172-192; doi:10.3390/socsci3010172
Received: 12 September 2013; in revised form: 14 February 2014 / Accepted: 3 March 2014 / Published: 11 March 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (262 KB)

by ,  and
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(1), 142-159; doi:10.3390/socsci3010142
Received: 16 September 2013; in revised form: 4 January 2014 / Accepted: 14 February 2014 / Published: 28 February 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (421 KB)

Article: On Resilience
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(1), 60-70; doi:10.3390/socsci3010060
Received: 13 September 2013; in revised form: 3 January 2014 / Accepted: 16 January 2014 / Published: 10 February 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (54 KB)

by  and
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(1), 1-23; doi:10.3390/socsci3010001
Received: 13 September 2013; in revised form: 22 November 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 8 January 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (172 KB)

by  and
Soc. Sci. 2013, 2(4), 298-317; doi:10.3390/socsci2040298
Received: 27 September 2013; in revised form: 7 November 2013 / Accepted: 25 November 2013 / Published: 3 December 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (473 KB)

Last update: 28 March 2013

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