Resilience became a keyword to consider the situation after the Great
East Japan Earthquake. However, defining resilience is not easy because of the
variety of its definitions. Therefore it is necessary to compare the definition
in one field with that in the other. It will be impossible to gain a deeper
understanding of necessary conditions of resilience without such a review. The
purpose of this paper is to form the foundation to design a resilient community
with this kind of method mainly based on the views of sociology.
One of the most famous definitions of resilience is the one by C. S.
Holling. He tried to define resilience by comparing it with stability. Stability
is the ability of a system to return to an equilibrium state after a temporary
disturbance. On the other hand, resilience is the ability of a system to absorb
change and disturbance and still maintain the same relationships between
populations or state variables. According to Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie
Healy, many definitions of resilience rest on one of two essential aspects:
continuity and recovery in the face of change. They defined resilience as the
capacity of a system to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of
dramatically changed circumstances.
Defining community is also indispensable. Junichi Saito defined
community as intermediate groups between individuals and nations.
Community tended to be evaluated negatively because of its exclusivity and
homogeneity. However, today it means various relationships among people
through the process of collaboration to rebuild their life. The other character
of the contemporary community is it is under the influence of globalization.
There are many problems beyond the boundaries such as global environmental
problems. Making much of plurality and individuality is important because the
discussion without going into specifics will not be useful to solve the problems
in each area. Besides, it is also necessary to consider how to connect the
individual efforts with one another to tackle global issues.
However, such kind of efforts has some problems. Efforts of people may
be convenient for the government to reduce costs of their control. As a result,
people will function as subcontractors of the government without knowing
it. Another problem is the static views of people. They may think the present
situation is self-evident. They do not assume the situation can change because
of the lack of critical thinking. It is essential for them to be aware how the
present situation has been formed to reconsider the actual state. The other
problem is the difficulty of communication between the experts and the lay.
The role of a transitional leader to mediate specialized knowledge of the
experts and local knowledge of the lay will be important to achieve a better
Considering these points is a necessary condition to design a resilient
community. They will be presented by the researchers who take part in a
decision-making process to support to improve the situation. Moreover, it is
also important to be aware the participation of researchers itself may affect a
decision-making process, as Niklas Luhmann pointed out.