That Elastic Term

That Elastic Term

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Forty years after C.S. Holling gave academic status to the word “resilience,” the concept has found a home in several different disciplines.

From ecology, where Holling first defined resilience in 1973 as the measure of a system’s ability to maintain its operational integrity, the term is now cropping up frequently in economics, psychiatry, robotics, medicine, military strategy, and many more disciplines.

Less clear, though, is whether “resilience” is a term of real scientific precision, or if it’s just flittering through academe, a chameleon noun most popular as a lazy tool of opportunistic imagery.

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