Blind Spots on Achilles’ Heel: The Limitations of Vulnerability and Resilience Mapping in Research

Jessica Heesen, Daniel F. Lorenz, Michael Herbert Nagenborg, Bettina Wenzel, Martin Voss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


The mapping of vulnerability and resilience has become an important tool for vulnerability and resilience research. By definition, maps are selective representations. However, the predominant methods of mapping also have constraints. When addressing vulnerability and resilience, these limitations, barriers, and blind spots have to be taken into account. Some aspects cannot be easily mapped, such as specific forms of knowledge and interpretation, the processuality of vulnerability and resilience, the dynamics of social processes, the context of origin, the establishment of contingent interpretations, and so on. These limitations are not only theoretically important, but also are practically significant, since maps themselves become dispositifs. They are regarded as representations of reality, shape particular interpretations of vulnerability and resilience, and are used as a basis for decision-making. If the unmapped preconditions of mapping remain unconsidered, this can lead to problematic side effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-85
JournalInternational journal of disaster risk science (IJDRS)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • IR-93453
  • METIS-307629


Dive into the research topics of 'Blind Spots on Achilles’ Heel: The Limitations of Vulnerability and Resilience Mapping in Research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this