Beyond bouncing: resilience as an expansion-contraction dynamic within a holonic frame

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The concept of resilience is often discussed in relation to “bouncing,” whether bouncing back or bouncing forward. This interdisciplinary article looks beyond “bouncing” in either direction. In so doing, it offers a novel conceptualization of resilience as a dialectical process of expansion and contraction across multiple domains and levels. Drawing on fieldwork with victims-/survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, and Uganda, it uses the qualitative data both to empirically critique the notions of “bouncing back” and “bouncing forward” and to explore what expansion and contraction look like in practice. It situates the arguments within a broader holonic perspective, in order to accentuate the systemic dimensions of resilience, and ultimately it discusses what they mean for the field of transitional justice.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberviaa048
JournalInternational Studies Review
Early online date31 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Jul 2020


  • contraction
  • expansion
  • holons
  • resilience


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