Building community resilience in a context of climate change: The role of social capital

Esther Carmen, Ioan Fazey, Helen Ross, Melissa Bedinger, Fiona M Smith, Katrin Prager, Kerri McClymont, David Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Social capital is considered important for resilience across social levels, including communities, yet insights are scattered across disciplines. This meta-synthesis of 187 studies examines conceptual and empirical understandings of how social capital relates to resilience, identifying implications for community resilience and climate change practice. Different conceptualisations are highlighted, yet also limited focus on underlying dimensions of social capital and proactive types of resilience for engaging with the complex climate change challenge. Empirical insights show that structural and socio-cultural aspects of social capital, multiple other factors and formal actors are all important for shaping the role of social capital for guiding resilience outcomes. Thus, finding ways to work with these different elements is important. Greater attention on how and why outcomes emerge, interactions between factors, approaches of formal actors and different socio-cultural dimensions will advance understandings about how to nurture social capital for resilience in the context of climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1371-1387
Number of pages17
Issue number6
Early online date11 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Climate change
  • Community resilience building
  • Social capital
  • Socio-cultural factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Chemistry


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