Maintaining and Creating Social Infrastructures: Towards a Theory of Resilience

Bryan Semaan, Jeff Hemsley

ABSTRACT

Societies rely on the social infrastructure for proper societal function. When crises emerge, the importance of the social infrastructure magnifies as people often rely on others, both known and unknown, for support. For citizens experiencing a war environment, however, societal trust can be affected and we show how technologies are used to maintain and create social infrastructures for resilience. Through interviews with 45 Iraqi civilians who had lived through the 2nd Gulf War, we found that people were able to evoke the social infrastructure through technological resources to maintain practices for work, to obtain goods and services, and to receive contextual support. We then theorize properties of social infrastructure that could be developed into affordances for new technologies to promote resilience during crises.

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