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Are Social Innovation Paradigms Incommensurable?

Authors
  • Montgomery, Tom1
  • 1 Glasgow Caledonian University, Yunus Centre for Social Business & Health, M201 George Moore Building, Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow, G4 0BA, UK , Glasgow (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Feb 18, 2016
Volume
27
Issue
4
Pages
1979–2000
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11266-016-9688-1
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

This paper calls attention to the problematic use of the concept of social innovation which remains undefined despite its proliferation throughout academic and policy discourses. Extant research has thus far failed to capture the socio-political contentions which surround social innovation. This paper therefore draws upon the work of Thomas Kuhn and conducts a paradigmatic analysis of the field of social innovation which identifies two emerging schools: one technocratic, the other democratic. The paper identifies some of the key thinkers in each paradigm and explains how the struggle between these two paradigms reveals itself to be part of a broader conflict between neoliberalism and it opponents and concludes by arguing that future research focused upon local contextualised struggles will reveal which paradigm is in the ascendancy.

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