Relationality: The Role of Connectedness in the Social Ecology of Resilience

Wing Shan Kan, Raul P. Lejano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous work has focused on the role of social capital on resilience. However, this research tends to search for civic and other organizations, often formal institutionalized groups which, when they are not found, leads to questions about how social networks are possibly governed. Without formal organizational structures to govern these networks, how is pro-environmental/pro-social behavior sustained. In this article, we focus on a diffused mechanism for collective action, which is referred to as relationality. Relationality is a theory that underscores how social connectedness, through mechanisms of empathy, foster collective action in noncentralized modes of network governance. The concept of relationality addresses important issues not considered by the literature on social capital --so being, we will refer to relational elements as relational capital. Relational capital constitutes a type of asset that communities can activate vis-a-vis environmental and other perturbation. As we describe, the evidence for relationality as an important mechanism for sustainability and resilience is accumulating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3865
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • collective action
  • relationality
  • resilience
  • social capital
  • sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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