Typologies of Mutual Aid in Climate Resilience: Variation in Reciprocity, Solidarity, Self-Determination, and Resistance

Elise Harrington, Aileen Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: We provide a conceptual review of mutual aid to operationalize a more just notion of resilience at individual, community, and group levels. We link scholarship across disciplines to examine how mutual aid contributes to adaptive capacity to support climate resilience. Mutual aid has the potential to support responses to climate change that do not return to the status quo, but instead address systemic burdens and vulnerabilities to support existing community strengths and assets. Data Sources: Prior scholarship on mutual aid from multiple disciplines: Engineering, social work, law, sociology, political science, and international development. Review Methods: We develop a conceptual review of literature from multiple disciplines to propose mutual aid typologies that provide more nuance and understanding of the variation of mutual aid. Results: We identify three types of mutual aid (institutional networks, group-based self-help, and social movement networks) and demonstrate their variation across reciprocity, solidarity, self-determination, and resistance. Conclusions: The variation in mutual aid suggests that scholarly disciplines and practitioners use the term to suggest different organizational forms and different outcomes associated with mutual aid. Mutual aid offered by group-based models and social movement networks provides routes to community resilience that support community-led responses to climate change focused on collective advocacy and care. This review centers on building adaptive capacity to address injustice and inequities in short- A nd long-term responses to climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-169
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Justice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.


  • climate change
  • community resilience
  • mutual aid
  • resilience


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