Table of Contents

The International Handbook on Social Innovation

The International Handbook on Social Innovation

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Elgar original reference

Edited by Frank Moulaert, Diana MacCallum, Abid Mehmood and Abdelillah Hamdouch

The contributors provide an overview of theoretical perspectives, methodologies and instructive experiences from all continents, as well as implications for collective action and policy. They argue strongly for social innovation as a key to human development. The Handbook defines social innovation as innovation in social relations within both micro and macro spheres, with the purpose of satisfying unmet or new human needs across different layers of society. It connects social innovation to empowerment dynamics, thus giving a political character to social movements and bottom-up governance initiatives. Together these should lay the foundations for a fairer, more democratic society for all.

Introduction: ‘reality’ as a guide for SI research methods?

Abdelillah Hamdouch

Subjects: business and management, social entrepreneurship, development studies, development studies, geography, human geography, innovation and technology, innovation policy, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, sociology and sociological theory, urban and regional studies, regional studies, urban studies


This part focuses on the methodologies that can be mobilized to be effective from a social innovation (SI) perspective. The key idea underlying the part is that SI analysis should be guided by what is going on in the ‘real’ social world: new initiatives, people’s responses to new socioeconomic challenges, perception and interpretation of such experiences by the stakeholders, forms of interaction, negotiation and collaboration among social actors, learning patterns and strategy-building in SI initiatives, etc. But should SI analysis be instructed by ‘reality’ only, or are there also methodologies that have something to say about how reality should be interpreted, analysed and, potentially, ‘transformed’? For researchers, therefore, a key challenge is to think of how new knowledge about the reality of SI initiatives and dynamics can be built and, at the same time, contribute to changing the reality. To put it another way, researchers are confronted with three intertwined major issues: 1) knowledge from ‘where’ and gathered/ produced by ‘whom’? 2) knowledge for ‘what’ and for ‘whom’? 3) what are the roles of the researchers in SI processes?

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information