Self-governance and symbiosis: a systemic approach to Socio Ecological Systems resilience


  • Angela Espinosa
  • David Guzman


Several approaches understand resilience as a systemic attribute that emerges in the relationship between the system and its niche or environment; it is distinguished by an observer as a system's capability to persist or to maintain its intern change dynamics in consideration with (in some cases, despite of) environmental change dynamics. Described this way, resilience is an attribute related with viability, which implies considering aspects such as adaptability and transformability. Throughout this document we argue that it may be desirable to take into account a more holistic and complex way to approach resilience in Socio Ecological Systems - SES. Looking for a deep understanding of change dynamics in SES and what it may be a desirable change path for human societies, the aim of the paper is to introduce the symbiotic metaphor as a way to describe and understand relationships between human and ecological systems. We also argue that this approach brings up useful implications for self-organisation at various levels of systemic aggregation in human systems. Along the document we build a statement for changing resilience and governance analysis in terms of intern and environmental change dynamics, in such a way that change and self-organisation considerations are structured around relationship dynamics. The paper concludes showing how this approach has been useful for understanding dynamics of two different SES in the Colombian Andean Eco Region and discusses the implications we may draw for future research.



How to Cite

Espinosa, A., & Guzman, D. (2017). Self-governance and symbiosis: a systemic approach to Socio Ecological Systems resilience. Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2015 Berlin, Germany, 1(1). Retrieved from