The Agents of Resilience: Generativity and Durability of Digital Platforms in Crisis-to-Crisis Transition

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines what happens to platforms and networks that spontaneously emerge in the context of a specific crisis once the crisis is over, and whether these can play a role in the case of a new crisis. It considers whether the same digital tools can play a role in responding to different emergencies (e.g., natural disasters, political protests or military conflicts). The chapter explores factors that may shape the transition from one crisis to another, relying on empirical data on the role of digital platforms in crises in Russia and Ukraine. The conceptual framework, which relies on the concept of generativity (Zittrain, 2008) and on the notion of activity systems (Engeström, 1987), allows us to follow whether, and if so how, activity systems relying on the mediation of the same digital tools, and on the same communities, may change the object of their activity from one crisis to another. The analysis identifies two types of interrelated digital platforms in the context of crisis response. Object-oriented tools are mainly concerned with the representation of a crisis and the allocation of resources to address it. Subject-oriented tools mainly support the rise of communities that participate in a crisis response. This distinction allows us to follow different paths of crisis-to-crisis transition and to identify the conditions that contribute to the adaptability and durability of crisis-related digital projects. The findings may help to identify new ways of ensuring that each instance of crisis response contributes to the development of capacity to address future crises.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRisk and Crisis Communication in Europe:
Subtitle of host publicationTowards Integrating Theory and Practice in Unstable and Turbulent Times
EditorsAudra Diers-Lawson , Andreas Schwarz , Florian Meißner
Edition2nd edition
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Mar 2024


  • resilience
  • complex emergencies
  • crowdsourcing
  • generativity
  • crisis mapping
  • Natural disasters
  • sense-making
  • covid-19
  • activity theory
  • global catastrophic risk


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