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 18: Social innovation through the arts in rural areas: the case of Montemor-o-Novo

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Isabel André, Alexandre Abreu and André Carmo


Culture and the arts have been taking on an increasingly important role within the context of local development strategies in the last couple of decades (Landry et al. 1996; Lowe 2000; Newman et al. 2003). It is often thought, or assumed, that culture and art can provide a veritable ‘sleight of hand’ capable of turning run-down, degenerated areas into dynamic, prosperous, ‘nice’ places. But to what extent are those regenerated places also equitable, fair and cohesive? And what does it take for culture and art to play a positive role in this respect as well? This chapter puts forth two main arguments in this regard: i) the promotion of culture and art within the context of local development strategies may provide a crucial contribution to harmonizing the goals of economic competitiveness and social cohesion (as well as those of economic innovation and social innovation), but does not always and necessarily have that effect; and ii) the ‘virtuous’ outcome is dependent on a broad-based, participatory approach to culture and arts that is able to (re)combine collective memory and collective creation (see Tremblay and Pilati, Chapter 5; Cornwell 1990; Puype 2004; Markusen and Gadwa 2010).

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