This introductory chapter argues innovation has become an uncontested issue both in scholars' and policy-makers' agendas. Theories developed within different disciplinary perspectives. Some of them pretend to be alternatives to mainstream economic or industrial theories and lead to both new terms and new questionning on neglected or alternatives types of innovation. How could we make sense of this profusion? Is there really new paradigms developing? The text presents the conceptual framework questioning these theories. Their historical, conceptual and critical analysis sheds light on the concepts of innovation and their origin, appropriation, circulation and contestation. It contributes to the assessment of alternatives representations of innovation, addressing their historical emergence and precursors, their conceptual aspects, and their critics regarding their originality and challenge to existing theories, their normativeness and their political dimension.

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