Resilience as a multi-directional movement process: a conceptual and empirical exploration

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Movement is a recurrent thematic within extant resilience scholarship. Ecological theorizations of resilience emphasize systems that are in constant movement and flux. Terms such as ‘bouncing back’ and ‘bouncing forward’ are frequently used to describe how individuals recover and move on from adversity and trauma. However, integrated individual-systemic explanations of resilience movement dynamics are lacking. Seeking to address this gap, this interdisciplinary article expressly frames resilience as a multi-directional movement process. Individuals do not just move forward and backwards. Rather, they move in multiple and varied ways as they seek to navigate their way through adversity – and through systems and social-ecological traps that both shape how they move and require them to keep moving. Drawing on interview data with victims-/survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), Colombia and Uganda, the article empirically explores what ‘movement’ looks like at the micro level through a focus on everyday forms and expressions of movement, while also examining how wider systemic environments shape and influence these movements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1046-1061
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number4
Early online date7 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2021


  • conflict‐related sexual violence
  • movement
  • resilience
  • social‐ecological systems


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