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Santiago Eizaguirre Anglada

Within the local welfare systems of southern Europe Bilbao appears as a social innovation regime enabling bottom-linked governance. Local public administrations, as providers of welfare policies, may act as a positive factor in stimulating the participation of socially creative entities. We present how citizen-led organisations addressing social exclusion have played a relevant role in the development of Bilbao’s local welfare system. We analyse two entities (Grupo Pe-ascal and Red Social Koopera) promoting socio-occupational integration and a cooperative approach on solidarity economy. We then look at two neighbourhood-based initiatives that promote democratic participation (Gazteleku in Rekalde and Hika Ateneo in Atxuri) as well as political empowerment of the community. Finally, we examine two entities providing access to economic resources in situations of scarcity (Ekhi Txanpona and Espacio Open). These last organisations show a critical and proactive approach in relation to public policies of local development.

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Santiago Eizaguirre Anglada

When analysing social innovation in the context of Southern Europe it is important to understand how civil society plays a leading role in supporting and developing local welfare systems. The chapter starts by presenting the analytical model of the INNOSOGO project that enabled comparison between different citizen-led innovation initiatives in Spanish cities. We then present some common challenges in the use of qualitative techniques to understand the role of social-innovation initiatives in urban governance. We stress the counter-hegemonic values promoted by citizen-led socially innovative initiatives and the institutionalization of their practices within public policies as key indicators in the understanding of their governance dynamics. Finally, we evaluate the financial independence of social innovation initiatives, considering how this conditions their relationship with city administrations. We also analyse how those dynamics could result in clientelism, co-optation and the domestication of social innovation.

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Theorizing multi-level governance in social innovation dynamics

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Marc Pradel Miquel, Marisol García Cabeza and Santiago Eizaguirre Anglada