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The butterfly and the elephant: local social innovation, the welfare state and new poverty dynamics

Listed author(s):
  • Stijn Oosterlynck
  • Yuri Kazepov
  • Andreas Novy
  • Pieter Cools
  • Eduardo Barberis
  • Florian Wukovitsch
  • Tatiana Saruis
  • Bernhard Leubolt
Registered author(s):

    This paper surveys the literature on localized socially innovative policies and actions aimed at overcoming poverty and social exclusion. The authors show how these local forms of social innovation emerged in the late 1970s against the backdrop of the crisis and transformation of the Western welfare state, the emergence of new social risks and the transition from the Fordist to the knowledge based economy. The paper aims to learn about new or older but as yet too often overlooked poverty and social exclusion dynamics from the locally embedded and collective responses to it by civil society associations, local state institutions and/or social entrepreneurs. The paper first develops a definition of social innovation as it applies to the fight against poverty and social exclusion. In a second part the authors put social innovation in its historical context by discussing three different strands of social innovation research and practice, namely: (1) social innovation as a critique of the territorial innovation model underlying the knowledge-based economy; (2) social innovation as a critique on the bureaucratic nature of the welfare state; and (3) socially innovative forms of neighbourhood development as a response to the urban crisis. The third section of the paper then zooms in on the process dimensions of social innovation for each of the three strands discussed in the second part. The authors propose the metaphor of ‘the elephant and the butterfly’ to think through the relationship between localized forms of socially innovative actions and initiatives on the one hand and the macro-level institutions of the welfare state and dialectical interplay between state institutions and civil society associations on the other. The paper concludes with a preliminary list of social needs, trends in poverty and the reconfiguration of welfare institutions and policies that are revealed by place-based socially innovative practices.

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    Paper provided by Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp in its series ImPRovE Working Papers with number 13/03.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2013
    Handle: RePEc:hdl:improv:1303
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    1. Frank Moulaert & Abid Mehmood, 2010. "Analysing Regional Development and Policy: A Structural-Realist Approach," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(1), pages 103-118.
    2. Gordon MacLeod, 2001. "New Regionalism Reconsidered: Globalization and the Remaking of Political Economic Space," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 804-829, December.
    3. Moulaert, Frank, 2000. "Globalization and Integrated Area Development in European Cities," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199241132.
    4. Konrad Miciukiewicz & Frank Moulaert & Andreas Novy & Sako Musterd & Jean Hillier, 2012. "Introduction: Problematising Urban Social Cohesion: A Transdisciplinary Endeavour," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 49(9), pages 1855-1872, July.
    5. Andreas Novy & Daniela Coimbra Swiatek & Frank Moulaert, 2012. "Social Cohesion: A Conceptual and Political Elucidation," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 49(9), pages 1873-1889, July.
    6. Crouch, Colin & Le Gales, Patrick & Trigilia, Carlo & Voelzkow, Helmut, 2004. "Changing Governance of Local Economies: Responses of European Local Production Systems," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199259403.
    7. Hirschman, Albert O, 1982. "Rival Interpretations of Market Society: Civilizing, Destructive, or Feeble?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 1463-1484, December.
    8. Bob Jessop, 2000. "The Crisis of the National Spatio-Temporal Fix and the Tendential Ecological Dominance of Globalizing Capitalism," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(2), pages 323-360, 06.
    9. David Harvey, 2003. "The right to the city," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 939-941, December.
    10. Frank Moulaert & Farid Sekia, 2003. "Territorial Innovation Models: A Critical Survey," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 289-302.
    11. Peter Taylor-Gooby, 2005. "Pervasive Uncertainty in Second Modernity: an Empirical Test," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 10(4), pages 1-1.
    12. Chris Hamnett, 1996. "Social Polarisation, Economic Restructuring and Welfare State Regimes," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 33(8), pages 1407-1430, October.
    13. Zephyr, 2010. "The city," City, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1-2), pages 154-155, February.
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