What Is Social in Social Innovation?
The paper focuses on three fields of tension between these two dimensions (social realm and innovation), in order to better understand the ambivalences and contradictions characterizing the social in itself:
- The rescaling processes. The localization of welfare, and the questioning of the features of standardization and uniformity of welfare national space, triggers at the same time generative social potential and risks of social fragmentation.
- The transformation of social bonds. Capitalism always expanded itself through a growing extension of market type relations to not yet marketized social spheres of life. Contemporary phase of capitalist expansion is based on unprecedented processes of value extraction from social relations and the social is reframed as a systemic prerequisite of the economy. How is changing, in this context, the social root of innovation?
- The informational basis of social innovation. According to Amartya Sen, informational basis structures the terrain which any policy and project is going to intervene on, as it incorporates definitions of problems and targets and activates systems for assessing actions against objectives. Nowadays informational basis of policy undergoes processes of radical abstraction, mechanical objectivation, privatization and moralization, whereas citizens capacity for voice is weakened.
The paper develops an analytical framework that, focusing on the connections between these three fields of tension, may help to investigate conditions, variety and implications of social innovation. We therefore will try to answer the question: What is social in sociali nnovation?