A Behavioral Perspective on Community Resilience during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Case of Paraisópolis in São Paulo, Brazil
The present article discusses the emergence and dynamics of community resilience by empirically investigating the case of the favela of Paraisópolis in São Paulo, Brazil. The emergence of innovative practices that initially contributed to significantly lower rates of COVID-19 infection and mortality when compared to the city average is described. The analytical framework combines two conceptual perspectives in the study of complex systems. First, resilience in socio-ecological systems highlights the adaptation processes characterized by an interplay of previous experience and emerging new knowledge. Second, the metacontingency framework describes the interplay between a cultural milieu, as a context for cultural practices; an aggregate product; and a selecting environment that embed the acquisition and continuity of interlocking behavioral contingencies. Research methods that combine elements of the descriptive analysis and an exploratory basic qualitative study are employed to understand how the community has self-organized during this period. The findings demonstrate how previous experience with social challenges facilitated self-organization and the emergence of innovative practices in the context of uncoordinated public health measures during the pandemic in Brazil. Furthermore, findings from interviews indicate the existence of positive feedback loops at the community level that facilitated the emergence of innovative practices. This study aims at contributing to the understanding of community resilience by identifying the geographic, psychological, and ecological factors (contextual variables) that facilitate responses to the pandemic.
Carvalho Couto, Kalliu