Since the 1970s, Holling's socio-ecological systems (SES) approach has been a most predominant theoretical force in resilience research in the context of the climate crisis. From Holling's approach, however, two contrasting scientific approaches to resilience have developed, namely, naturalism and constructivism. While naturalist resilience research takes SES as complex systems marked by non-linearity and evolutionary changes, constructivist resilience research focuses on the embeddedness of SES in heterogenous contexts. In naturalist resilience research resilience is defined as a system property, while in constructivist resilience research resilience is politically loaded and historically contingent. The aim of this paper is to review and structure current developments in resilience research in the field of climate change studies, in terms of the approaches, definitions, models and commitments that are typical for naturalism and constructivism; identify the key tension between naturalist and constructivist resilience research in terms of the widely discussed issue of adaptation and transformation, and discuss its implications for sustainable development; and propose a research agenda of topics distilled from the adaptation-transformation tension between naturalist and constructivist resilience research.