4th International Social Innovation Research Conference (ISIRC)
Third Sector Research Centre, Birmingham, 12-14 September 2012
Stream 6: The Politics of Social Innovation
Alex Nicholls (Oxford University)
Much of the public rhetoric around social innovation and social entrepreneurship suggests that it aims for, and if successful achieves, significant change at the systems level. However, the literature on the subject has tended to assume that such change can be achieved at the level of organisational innovation in either ‘social’ outputs (products and services) or ‘social’ processes (employment policies, intermediary services) typically framed within market contexts. Analyses of social innovation and change carried out from this perspective present social innovation in largely economic or sociological terms, but tend to ignore critical issues of power, hierarchy, resistance and opposition.
This stream aims to explore the under-researched topic of the political contexts and actions typical of examples of social innovation and change. Such processes can be conceived of in a number of ways, but potential papers are advised to take a social stratification approach in which political actors and organisations can be identified at different levels of action from the macro- to the micro, as follows:
- Social Policy Intrapreneurship located in government
- Social Innovation Policy Making located in government
- Social-Institutional Innovation focused on market formation and located in social enterprise
- Social Service Innovation focused on new products and services and located in social enterprise
- Social Change Innovation located in social movements
Key questions within this stream would include:
- What is the role of government in social innovation?
- Is there such a thing as social innovation policy?
- How far can government act as social innovator?
- What innovation occurs at the intersections of public and private action?
- How do social activists respond to the marketization of social change?
- Do sectoral hybridities spell the end of formal political action?
- Can any change agent ignore power structures?
- How far can strategies of resistance and opposition generate innovation at the systems level?
- Does Weber’s definition of the effective state having a ‘monopoly of violence’ challenge radical social change?
- Can social media technologies replace social movements?
Abstract submissions for single papers and panel sessions should be sent directly to ISIRC@tsrc.ac.uk. See call for papers for more details.
Enquiries should be directed to the stream convenor: Alex Nicholls (Alex.Nicholls@sbs.ox.ac.uk)
Full stream description (PDF, 11KB)