Self-reliance theory

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Self-reliance theory seems to be mostly developed in the context of struggling native cultures, e.g. American Indians or third-world communities.

For example, Chapin et al. (2016). [1] discuss self-reliance in the following context: "Given the accelerating pace of global environmental and social change identification of a vision and process for adaptation (defined here as action that enhances long-term wellbeing and sustainability) is critical if house-holds, communities, and nations are to thrive" and the suggest to create new Community Partnership for Self-Reliance, "a novel boundary organization that uses community visions for self-reliance, based on local and traditional knowledge, to link bottom-up with top-down adaptation planning".

According to Lowe (n.d.) [2] The purpose of the middle range theory of Self-Reliance is to articulate a process for promoting well-being with attention to appreciation for one’s culture. Self-reliance is being true to self and is lived by being responsible, disciplined, and confident while staying connected to one’s cultural roots. The three concepts of self-reliance are (a) being responsible, (b) being disciplined, and (c) being confident.


  1. Chapin, F. S., Knapp, C. N., Brinkman, T. J., Bronen, R., & Cochran, P. (2016). Community-empowered adaptation for self-reliance. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 19, 67–75.
  2. Lowe, J. (n.d.). Theory of Self-Reliance. In M. J. L. Smith Patricia R. (Ed.) (pp. 289–2018). New York: Springer Publishing Company.