Social Innovation as Political Transformation
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Social Innovation as Political Transformation

Thoughts for a Better World

Edited by Pieter Van den Broeck, Abid Mehmood, Angeliki Paidakaki and Constanza Parra

This book is an introduction to the works of a collective of academics on social innovation and socio-political transformation. It offers a critique of the dominance of market-based logics and extractivism in the age of neoliberalism. Calling for systemic change, the authors invite the reader to engage in the analysis and practice of socially innovative initiatives and, by doing so, contribute to the co-construction of a sustainable, solidarity-based and regenerative society.
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Chapter 41: WHEN INNOVATION LOST ITS SOCIAL CHARACTER. OR NOT?

Frank Moulaert

Abstract

Starting from the history of thought and practice of innovation, Frank Moulaert muses on the trajectories of meanings and theorization of this concept. He uses this history as a mirror to reflect on the relationship between innovation and development and explains how originally, say starting in the eighteenth century, the term innovation basically referred to social innovation and to debates and struggles to change the world. But with the rise of modernity and the strong appeal of science and technology to policy makers and other societal and economic leaders, the concept of innovation lost its essentially social meaning. As of the 1930s, innovation has been predominantly referred to as technological innovation, connecting it preferably to economic innovation. This reduction of the meaning of innovation has had an impact on the way development was conceived and materialized, especially at the expense of visions and strategies of development from below.

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