The Spaces of Resilience: Learning and Adaption


  • Francesco Vespasiano University of Sannio, Benevento
  • Elvira Martini University of Sannio, Benevento



resilience, learning, sustainable development


“To succeed in the modern economy you need technical and adaptive skills. Technical skills and specialized knowledge makes you a more efficient and productive worker, but it can lock you in to a part of the division of labor that can disappear over night in the winds of creative destruction that increasingly sweep across the economy. Across both natural and human systems, processes that increase the efficient production of wealth and stored energy undermine resilience” (Swanstrom, 2008: 6-7). In fact, at a time of crisis it seems that the territories are even more vulnerable and fragile: emerging social issues (like new poverty), new needs, frayed social fabrics and lack of social networks. This syndrome of weakness can be remedied only if the collective intelligence of an area tries to develop development policies for education and culture of legality, stimulating 'communities of practices' and investing in intangible factors of development. A successful economy creates tight connections between the industry, society and the government (e.g. Triple Helix Model) but these same connections can make difficult to shift public policies and redeploy assets in the face of a crisis (Safford 2004). Similarly, lean companies with just-on-time production and global supply chains, may be highly efficient but they are vulnerable to disruptions (Sheffi, 2007).

This paper analyzes the mechanisms of adaptation and self-organization to promote resilience; particularly, after describing the relationship between risk, resilience and sustainability, we have focused on the ecological model of resilience that reconciles the  contradiction mentioned above through the idea of panarchy that captures the “evolutionary nature of adaptive cycles that are nested one within each other across space and time” (Holling, 2001: 396).

Author Biographies

Francesco Vespasiano, University of Sannio, Benevento

Department of Law, Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods

Elvira Martini, University of Sannio, Benevento

Department of Law, Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods




How to Cite

Vespasiano, F., & Martini, E. (2015). The Spaces of Resilience: Learning and Adaption. Italian Sociological Review, 5(1), 21.