Rethinking Social Contracts: Building Resilience in a Changing Climate

  • O'Brien K
  • Hayward B
  • Berkes F
 et al. 
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Social contracts play an important role in defining the reciprocal rights, obligations, and responsibilities between states and citizens. Climate change is creating new challenges for both states and citizens, inevitably forcing a rethinking of existing and evolving social contracts. In particular, the social arrangements that enhance the well-being and security of both present and future generations are likely to undergo dramatic transformations in response to ecosystem changes, more extreme weather events, and the consequences of social-ecological changes in distant locations. The types of social contracts that evolve in the face of a changing climate will have considerable implications for adaptation policies and processes. We consider how a resilience approach can contribute to new social contracts in the face of uncertainty and change. Examples from Norway, New Zealand, and Canada show how resilience thinking provides a new way of looking at social contracts, emphasizing the dynamics, links, and complexity of coupled social- ecological systems. Resilience thinking provides valuable insights on the characteristics of a new social contract, and social contract theory provides some insights on creating resilience and human security in a warming world. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]; Copyright of Ecology & Society is the property of Resilience Alliance and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Author-supplied keywords

  • CLIMATIC changes
  • ECOLOGICAL disturbances
  • NEW Zealand
  • RESILIENCE (Personality trait)
  • SOCIAL contract
  • adaptation
  • climate change
  • northern Canada
  • resilience
  • social contracts

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  • Karen O'Brien

  • Bronwyn Hayward

  • Fikret Berkes

  • Karen O’Brien

  • Bronwyn Hayward

  • Fikret Berkes

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