Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research
Elgar original reference
Edited by Frank Moulaert, Diana MacCallum, Abid Mehmood and Abdelillah Hamdouch
Chapter 26: Learning from case studies of social innovation in the field of social services: creatively balancing top-down universalism with bottom-up democracy
Socially innovative initiatives (SIIs) involve collective actions that aim at improving opportunities for people threatened by a wide diversity of exclusionary processes or looking for alternative futures. However, in order to become durable, socially innovative processes and achievements need to be translated into some form of institutionalized rights. Since many SIIs are generated from below, this translation is far from automatic. This is most evident in the domain of social services, where, in the context of the generalized restructuring of the welfare state, a double danger emerges: on the one hand SIIs are increasingly called to substitute for retrenching or inadequate public provisions; on the other, since they are most often based on the mobilization of social groups characterized by hardship, they cannot be sustained over time.
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