Date of Award
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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
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Resilience is described as the ability of a system to absorb shocks and stressors while retaining functionality. Within the context of communities, shocks may consist of disruptive events such as recession, natural disaster, local losses of industry, and social unrest. Resilience therefore is the ability of a community to continuously support human well-being in the aftermath of such an event. Although it is observable that certain communities perform this function better than others following a shock, no exact measurement of resilience exists. Instead, its presence is implied through the measurement of proxies known to contribute to socio-economic condition as well as local-scale qualitative assessments of community assets and performance. This body of work employs three research methodologies at different levels of granularity in order to both describe community conditions and generate data-informed predictions of community resilience. Analysis of survey data and stakeholder interview transcripts, along with the construction of a statewide dual-resolution index of resilience are the methods chosen to achieve this end. Given the highly rural character of Maine and its historic reliance on natural resource industries, additional focus is directed towards the resilience of communities reliant on industries such as pulp and paper. From the results of this research, the suite of resilience-enhancing community capitals is highly variable based on factors such as population size, proximity to metropolitan areas, and the presence of varied amenities and services. Survey respondents reporting from rural regions report greater access to social capital and interpersonal support systems, whereas urban dwellers identify economic diversity as a predominant asset. Indexing and survey methodologies reveal something of the presence of resilience enhancing community elements, but alone are unable to illuminate the realized utilization of these assets. The use of content analysis of stakeholder interviews within a community-scale comparative case study better demonstrates response and resilience manifestation over time, albeit at an especially narrow scale resolution. In combination, methodologies such as these identify potential regions of resilience and vulnerability, while simultaneously describing the strategies deployed in regions of similar character, as well as the shortcomings they endured.
Sherman, Gabrielle, "Socio-Economic Resilience of Natural Resource Dependent Communities" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3657.