The International Handbook on Social Innovation
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The International Handbook on Social Innovation

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

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.
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Chapter 11: 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


Governance objectives and mechanisms have been changing in European cities in the last 20 years. This has served to maintain cities’ competitive advantage, but also to preserve existing social models. Transformations in governance have implied both a state reorganization in multi-layered systems of policy-making and policy delivery (i.e. welfare and social care) and the opening up of the policy process to the input of non-state market and civil society actors (Brenner 2004; Jessop 2004; Kazepov 2010). In this changing framework it is possible to develop social innovation by public, private and civil-society actors as they find more space for intervening in the design and implementation of urban policies. They are supposed to find more room for manoeuvre given the higher degree of decentralization and the openness of decision-making processes to non-state actors. This chapter examines the relation between social innovation and governance focusing on how socially creative strategies can transform governance mechanisms and at the same time be influenced by them.

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