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 12: Towards a Deleuzean-inspired methodology for social innovation research and practice

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Jean Hillier


Gilles Deleuze claimed that the question of innovation – the production of the new, novelty or creativity – is one of the fundamental questions of contemporary thought. One of the main issues driving Deleuze’s work was to discover how the production of something new might be possible. As he wrote, ‘The new . . . calls forth forces in thought that are not the forces of recognition, today or tomorrow, but the powers of a completely other model, from an unrecognized and unrecognisable terra incognita’ (Deleuze 1994[1991], p. 136). Resonating with Deleuze’s discussion of innovation and the new, the concept of social innovation developed in this Handbook rejects traditional, technology-focussed applications of ‘innovation’, preferring instead ‘a more nuanced reading which valorises the knowledge and cultural assets of communities and which foregrounds the creative reconfiguration of social relations’ (MacCallum et al. 2009b, p. 2).

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