Call for Papers

'Vulnerability’ and ‘resilience’ in the renewed approaches to development and the environment

The aim of this conference is to conduct a future-oriented assessment of the contributions and limitations of the concepts of vulnerability and resilience almost 20 years after they began to become more widespread in academic research as well as in development and environmental policies. These policies have been in a state of constant evolution since the beginning of the 1990s. In a context of global change, the growing importance of the theme of poverty reduction (MDGs, 2000-2015) and the increased attention paid to environmental concerns (Rio, 1992) by national and international authorities have gradually led to the convergence of development and environmental analyses (SDGs, 2015-2030), in particular through the notion of sustainable development. A focus on the long term, on complex dynamics, contexts and the role of institutions as well as a partial questioning of the “traditional” indicators based on GDP are at the very heart of this convergence.

Within this movement, two concepts have become increasingly present in both the theories and practices of development and the environment: vulnerability and resilience. Vulnerability and resilience overlap to a certain extent, as global vulnerability can be broken down into shocks (instabilities, risks and hazards), exposure to shocks (size, concentration of exports, location, etc.) and resilience (Adger et al., 2000; Guillaumont, 2006). Resilience can express a system’s capacity to restore its functions after a shock or a capacity for adaptation (Berkes et al., 1998; Dauphiné, Provitolo, 2007). It encapsulates the dimensions of players’ strategies, public policies, crisis management (ex-ante and ex-post), governance and ethics. The dynamic dimension is common to both terms.

These two concepts emerged against the backdrop of a renewal of the political economy of development and the environment which saw uncertainty and the incorporation of multiple timescales (Hugon, 2016; Reghezza-Zitt and Rufat S., 2015) as a condition of understanding development and defining effective policies. As part of a dynamic approach to poverty and applied to different territories and different levels (ranging from local to global), “vulnerability” and “resilience” focus attention on trajectories, regardless of whether they are individual, meso-economic or macroeconomic.

These two concepts place an emphasis on the effects of shocks and on potential bifurcations while exploring the conditions of sustainability and of the creation and transmission of multi-dimensional wealth (natural, immaterial, produced, etc.) to future generations.

The choice of these concepts produces a critical review of the “traditional” approaches to development and the environment from a theoretical, methodological and practical standpoint, subsequently leading to a powerful renewal of ideas and models. The crucial role played by institutions and governance in the fields of development and the environment has been brought to light with our awareness of the terrible and sometimes long-lasting impacts of hurricanes, earthquakes and epidemics on the economic and social dynamics of the regions affected, especially when these catastrophes have not been anticipated, managed or compensated by actors in the public sphere. In other cases, we observe situations of economic stagnation (or blocked development) which are so paradoxical that it is necessary to revisit the models of “under-development traps” or “under-accumulation traps” in an attempt to describe them. Elsewhere, we become aware that intangible wealth, and in particular that associated with heritage firmly rooted in the territories of both North and South, is a source of product and service differentiation. This can represent a factor of access to the most promising niches on the global market and is thus a motor of development. We therefore realise the extent to which the indicators of development will lose their credibility if they are unable to better integrate these different dimensions in the future. The work currently required of researchers on the recognised challenges facing society – such as the destabilisation of coastal socio-ecosystems affected by global change, the fragility of insular economies, the impact of global change on human health or the challenge of the environmental and social sustainability of mining specialisations – can be seen as an ideal opportunity to apply and test fresh approaches to development and the environment.

The works conducted over the past two decades within these different fields of research have opened up new avenues which must now be identified.

This raises two questions which frame this call for contributions:

What conclusions can we draw today from the use of the concepts of vulnerability and resilience in the approaches to development and the environment?

In relation to the frontier of knowledge, what perspectives do these two concepts open with a view to creating a renewed analysis framework of development and the environment?

The desired contributions can be strictly disciplinary (economics, geography, but also Law and Political sciences, Sociology,...), multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary, qualitative or quantitative, echoing the works which have seized the concepts of vulnerability and resilience to analyse the dynamics of development and take the environment into account.

For guidance purposes, these contributions focusing on the notions of “vulnerability” and “resilience” can address the following themes (with further exploration in workshops or breakout sessions):


  1. Models, concepts and measures
  2. Innovations, agriculture and global change
  3. Extractive industries, “new” regulations, new development trajectories?
  4. Health, environment and climate change
  5. Water governance: new integrated water management models, new practices.
  6. Social and environmental risks, social protection, micro-finance
  7. Natural disaster and territorial resilience: which adaptations (ex-ante and ex-post) to shocks for cities, small islands and coastal areas?
  8. Tangible and intangible heritage: a factor of sustainability, vulnerability or resilience?
  9. Climate change and international negotiations (international political economy)
  10. Conflict governance: wars for resources, armed conflicts, ethics, trust and alliance


Submission process

Contributions must be submitted as a two-pages abstract with main bibliographic references, directly online in the "Submit" section of the site by may 15, 2019.

Submissions are linked to the themes of the conference, but it is also possible to submit your contribution in the "other" theme.

Decision of the scientific committee will be sent by email from 07 June 2019.

For accepted abstracts, full text are expected on October 14, 2019.

















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