This special issue brings together prominent scholars to explore novel multilevel governance challenges posed by the behavior of dynamic and complex social-ecological systems. Here we expand and investigate the emerging notion of “resilience” as a perspective for understanding how societies can cope with, and develop from, disturbances and change. As the contributions to the special issue illustrate, resilience thinking in its current form contains substantial normative and conceptual difficulties for the analysis of social systems. However, a resilience approach to governance issues also shows a great deal of promise as it enables a more refined understanding of the dynamics of rapid, interlinked and multiscale change. This potential should not be underestimated as institutions and decision-makers try to deal with converging trends of global interconnectedness and increasing pressure on social-ecological systems.
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