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Andreas Novy

The article argues in favour of social innovations that transform basic social forms of working and living. It criticizes the dominant trend to reduce social innovation to minimalist interventions that either fall into the localist trap or foster institutional lock-in. Critical realism is well suited for transformative social innovation research, as it shares with social innovation theory and practice a utopian horizon beyond the exiting institutions and structures. As critical realism perceives the potential as part of reality, it overcomes the focus on the empirical and the actual that restrains experimentation and innovative thinking and action. Such transformative social innovation, inspired in critical realism, is emancipatory and empowering as it opens space for research and agency that looks at potentials instead of problems. The good life for all is a concrete utopia that combines piecemeal reformism and bottom-linked transformative agency with utopian thinking beyond capitalism, the growth imperative and consumerism.

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Innovative forms of knowledge production: transdisciplinarity and knowledge alliances

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Andreas Novy, Sarah Habersack and Barbara Schaller

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Andreas Novy, Richard Bärnthaler and Basil Stadelmann

This chapter investigates the history of housing and urban infrastructure in Vienna by analysing the dialectics between improvement and habitation. It discusses countermovements seeking for habitation in five historical periods: an anti-liberal countermovement (Vienna before 1918), a social-democratic countermovement (Red Vienna, 1919-34), fascist countermovements (1934-45), the institutionalization of the social-democratic countermovement (1945-89), and its erosion (1989 onwards). This historical analysis demonstrates the ambivalence of anti-market countermovements, as they are not unconditionally promoting holistic forms of social cohesion, peaceful communal life, and emancipation. Improvement is not always destructive and habitation not always unifying. Their outcomes depend on their specific form of implementation and framing. The chapter ends with a reflection on how to navigate between improvement and habitation today.

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The linkages between popular education and solidarity economy in Brazil: an historical perspective

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Ana Cristina Fernandes, Andreas Novy and Paul Singer

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Carla Weinzierl, Andreas Novy, Anikó Bernát, Florian Wukovitsch and Zsuzsanna Vercseg

Roma communities are among the most vulnerable and socially excluded groups in Europe. This chapter highlights the historical and institutional mechanisms of their discrimination and explores the potential of social innovation to combat such discrimination and social exclusion. Two case studies of socially innovative initiatives for the inclusion of Roma in Austria and Hungary are described and their potential for contributing to social cohesion is critically analysed. The authors highlight that path-dependencies in two welfare models with assimilationist tendencies have resulted in difficulties in striking a balance between diversity and equality. They conclude that while European policies have raised awareness on cultural discrimination, socio-economic and political exclusion cannot be addressed solely by local initiatives.