"Half a loaf is better than nothing": The risks and resilience of day labourers in Cape Town
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According to Worthington and Scherer (2004), resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or other significant sources of stress. The concept of resilience draws upon previous work in the area of psychology in which resilience is conceptualised not as an individual trait or characteristic, but as a dynamic process in the lives of people who encounter adversity or significant hardships (Van Breda, 2018; Walker, Anderies, Kinzig & Ryan, 2006). Similarly, in Van Breda’s (2018) critical review of the concept resilience, he widens the scope or definition to incorporate both the process and outcomes components. Van Breda (2018) views resilience as “multilevel processes that systems engage in to obtain better-than-expected outcomes in the face or wake of adversity”. This implies that people are seen as resilient when they respond better than expected in dealing with adversity. These ‘multilevel’ processes not only occur in the individual but also in the context of the person, which explains that there can be different pathways to resilience, depending on the unique person and his or her context. People do not respond the same way to the same adverse experience. A different pathway is referred to by Van Breda (2018) as distal-onset chronic adversity, which involves coping in the face of the adversity while it is on-going. This helps to explain how people can respond better than expected under continuous adverse circumstances such as chronic poverty and unemployment. It is in terms of this view of resilience that the risks and resilience of the day labourers at a hiring site in Parow in Cape Town were explored to understand what kind of adversity they face on a daily basis and how they deal with the difficulties on a daily basis. The results of the study will also provide direction to the social workers responses toward vulnerable groups.