Modeling Social Resilience in Communities

Eunice E. Santos, Eugene Santos, John Korah, Jeremy E. Thompson, Yan Zhao, Vairavan Murugappan, Jacob A. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the primary challenges of modeling the social resilience of communities is that resilience may depend on a number of multidomain factors, ranging from ecological to political. In addition, the impacts and interactions of the relevant factors may not be fully understood. There is also the challenge of representing the intricate behaviors of the social actors, both individuals and groups, in order to model their responses to perturbations in the environment and to internal changes. In light of these challenges, current works tend to make a number of simplifying assumptions. In this paper, we propose a computational framework to formulate multiple resilience functions, each modeling a particular hypothesis about the system's resilience. One of our key contributions is the ability to use social theories to compose these individual resilience functions into an umbrella resilience function, while providing qualitative analysis. We validate our framework by modeling the resilience of a fishing community in Somalia over the period of 1999-2012, as it underwent a series of dramatic ecological, political, and economic changes. We formulated resilience functions to computationally model the competing support for the community's traditional occupation of fishing and alternatively for taking up piracy on the high seas. We then provide an overall resilience function by combining these individual resilience functions using social theories such as the social norm theory and risk theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-199
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computational Social Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bayesian knowledge bases (BKBs)
  • community resilience
  • computational modeling
  • resilience function
  • social norms
  • social resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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