Detecting Social Innovation agency: Methodological reflections on units of analysis in dispersed transformation processes

Bonno Pel, Jens Dorland, Julia Wittmayer, Michael Søgaard Jørgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Considering that it is important for the social innovation research field to
confront its methodological challenges, this contribution addresses the
challenge of choosing appropriate units of analysis. In processes of
transformative social innovation, the agency is distributed and therefore
fundamentally difficult to detect and ascribe. This contribution addresses the
challenge to develop methodologies that are consistent with this relational
ontology, critically evaluating the three main unit of analysis choices that
guided an international comparison of 20 transnational SI networks and their
local manifestations. Methodological lessons are drawn on the actors that SI
can be ascribed to, on the transnational agency through which it spreads and on
the relevant transformation contexts involved. This provides SI research with
methodological tools to handle the elusiveness of SI agency, a methodological
challenge that becomes particularly pressing in attempts towards systematic
comparison of cases.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Public & Social Innovation Review
Volume2
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)110-126
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

innovation research
innovation
international comparison
social process
methodology

Keywords

  • Social Innovation
  • Demarcation
  • Networks
  • Methodology
  • Actor network theory
  • Coproduction
  • Transformation

Cite this

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title = "Detecting Social Innovation agency: Methodological reflections on units of analysis in dispersed transformation processes",
abstract = "Considering that it is important for the social innovation research field toconfront its methodological challenges, this contribution addresses thechallenge of choosing appropriate units of analysis. In processes oftransformative social innovation, the agency is distributed and thereforefundamentally difficult to detect and ascribe. This contribution addresses thechallenge to develop methodologies that are consistent with this relationalontology, critically evaluating the three main unit of analysis choices thatguided an international comparison of 20 transnational SI networks and theirlocal manifestations. Methodological lessons are drawn on the actors that SIcan be ascribed to, on the transnational agency through which it spreads and onthe relevant transformation contexts involved. This provides SI research withmethodological tools to handle the elusiveness of SI agency, a methodologicalchallenge that becomes particularly pressing in attempts towards systematiccomparison of cases.",
keywords = "Social Innovation, Demarcation, Networks, Methodology, Actor network theory, Coproduction, Transformation",
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Detecting Social Innovation agency : Methodological reflections on units of analysis in dispersed transformation processes. / Pel, Bonno; Dorland, Jens; Wittmayer, Julia; Jørgensen, Michael Søgaard.

In: European Public & Social Innovation Review, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2017, p. 110-126.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Detecting Social Innovation agency

T2 - Methodological reflections on units of analysis in dispersed transformation processes

AU - Pel, Bonno

AU - Dorland, Jens

AU - Wittmayer, Julia

AU - Jørgensen, Michael Søgaard

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - Considering that it is important for the social innovation research field toconfront its methodological challenges, this contribution addresses thechallenge of choosing appropriate units of analysis. In processes oftransformative social innovation, the agency is distributed and thereforefundamentally difficult to detect and ascribe. This contribution addresses thechallenge to develop methodologies that are consistent with this relationalontology, critically evaluating the three main unit of analysis choices thatguided an international comparison of 20 transnational SI networks and theirlocal manifestations. Methodological lessons are drawn on the actors that SIcan be ascribed to, on the transnational agency through which it spreads and onthe relevant transformation contexts involved. This provides SI research withmethodological tools to handle the elusiveness of SI agency, a methodologicalchallenge that becomes particularly pressing in attempts towards systematiccomparison of cases.

AB - Considering that it is important for the social innovation research field toconfront its methodological challenges, this contribution addresses thechallenge of choosing appropriate units of analysis. In processes oftransformative social innovation, the agency is distributed and thereforefundamentally difficult to detect and ascribe. This contribution addresses thechallenge to develop methodologies that are consistent with this relationalontology, critically evaluating the three main unit of analysis choices thatguided an international comparison of 20 transnational SI networks and theirlocal manifestations. Methodological lessons are drawn on the actors that SIcan be ascribed to, on the transnational agency through which it spreads and onthe relevant transformation contexts involved. This provides SI research withmethodological tools to handle the elusiveness of SI agency, a methodologicalchallenge that becomes particularly pressing in attempts towards systematiccomparison of cases.

KW - Social Innovation

KW - Demarcation

KW - Networks

KW - Methodology

KW - Actor network theory

KW - Coproduction

KW - Transformation

M3 - Journal article

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EP - 126

JO - European Public & Social Innovation Review

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