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Marc Parés, Sonia M. Ospina and Joan Subirats

In this chapter we review different approaches on social innovation and leadership. Social innovation is usually conceptualized as a way of improving territorial development in disenfranchised neighbourhoods. However, little attention has been paid to the dynamics by which responses emerge, how social impact or scalability could be achieved and, finally, how social change could be effectively accomplished. Bringing together disruptive theories of social innovation and constructionist theories of collective leadership this chapter delves into the context–agency debate. In so doing, we identify the main challenges for the novel approach to analyzing social change that we develop theoretically and empirically throughout this book.

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Marc Parés, Sonia M. Ospina and Joan Subirats

The South Bronx is a socially excluded urban area that has significantly improved over the last 40 years. It has been revitalized and transformed from a national symbol of urban dystopia into a collection of ordinary working-class neighbourhoods. However, stigmatization remains a handicap; environmental problems have not been adequately addressed; housing is still not affordable for many; unemployment is high, the poverty rate remains extreme and access to good education is a serious contemporary problem. In the South Bronx, the Great Recession hit an area that was already vulnerable, shrouded in a sense of a lack of investment. There is a feeling among residents that public authorities have failed their community and that public institutions should do more for the area. At the same time, though, in recent decades a strong sense of belonging – fostered by the ‘we stay’ movement – has helped to build a community with solid ties and a powerful organizing capacity. This community has struggled, has influenced public policies and has been able to work together with public authorities in order to improve the South Bronx. There is a history in the South Bronx of organizations and interests banding together.

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Jeffery J. Mondak, Matthew Hayes and Damarys Canache

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Jan W. van Deth

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Pippa Norris

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Tom W.G. van der Meer and Sonja Zmerli

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Tom W.G. van der Meer

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Quinton Mayne and Armen Hakhverdian

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Elizabeth Theiss-Morse and Dona-Gene Barton

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Paola Rivetti and Francesco Cavatorta