Although it has a long history, social innovation (SI) attracted the interest of major European institutions only recently. Different definitions are circulating and the definitional struggle echoes tensions and battles related to the on-going process of institutionalization of these innovations. Tentatively, we can identify three different definitions for SI: (i) SI as a complement to technological innovation; (ii) SI as organizational and institutional changes that respond to social needs that are not well served by traditional market or State services; (iii) SI as a process of transformation of the social and political order.
We expect to gather a group of scholars coming from different backgrounds, STS, innovation studies, studies of social movements in order to foster a cross-fertilization of ideas around SI. This track invites papers that may focus on the following lines of inquiry:
- the genealogy of social innovation;
- the historical background, say innovation in non-market organizations in the beginning of the 20th Century or appropriate technologies in the 70's;
- in what ways and under what conditions can social innovation contribute to transformative change?
- the boundaries of social innovation (is it possible to use market mechanisms to foster SI?)
- study of knowledge production in SI;
- the problem of diffusion and scaling up (how to cope with the contradiction between adaptation to local situations and wide-scale diffusion?);
- the types of normativity attached to social innovation;
- the measure of impact of SI.
The papers will be presented in the order shown and grouped 4-4-3 between sessions