Uniting resilience research and practice with an inequalities approach

Angela Hart, Emily Gagnon, Suna Eryigit-Madzwamuse, Josh Cameron, Kay Aranda, Anne Rathbone, Becky Heaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concept of resilience has evolved, from an individual-level characteristic to a wider ecological notion that takes into account broader person-environment interactions, generating an increased interest in health and well-being research, practice and policy. At the same time, the research and policy-based attempts to build resilience are increasingly under attack for responsibilizing individuals and maintaining, rather than challenging, the inequitable structure of society. When adversities faced by children and young people result from embedded inequality and social disadvantage, resilience-based knowledge has the potential to influence the wider adversity context. Therefore, it is vital that conceptualizations of resilience encompass this potential for marginalized people to challenge and transform aspects of their adversity, without holding them responsible for the barriers they face. This article outlines and provides examples from an approach that we are taking in our research and practice, which we have called Boingboing resilience. We argue that it is possible to bring resilience research and practice together with a social justice approach, giving equal and simultaneous attention to individuals and to the wider system. To achieve this goal, we suggest future research should have a co-produced and inclusive research design that overcomes the dilemma of agency and responsibility, contains a socially transformative element, and has the potential to empower children, young people, and families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2016. Creative Commons CC-BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).


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