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Social Innovation and Democratic Leadership

Communities and Social Change from Below

Marc Parés, Sonia M. Ospina and Joan Subirats

This book explores new forms of democracy in practice following the 2011 global uprisings; democracy that comes from below, by and for the ‘have-nots’. Combining theories of social innovation and collective leadership, it analyses how disadvantaged communities have addressed the effects of economic recession in two global cities: Barcelona and New York.
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Chapter 2: Geographies of crisis: comparing the United States and Europe through New York and Barcelona

Marc Parés, Sonia M. Ospina and Joan Subirats


In this chapter we discuss the effects of the Great Recession in the US and Europe and outline the key responses developed at the macro and micro levels, exploring how social innovation has become a powerful response to evolving social challenges within communities. We also justify our claim that communities matter for fostering social change from below, and then introduce Barcelona and New York as the two cities that host the innovative efforts we chose to highlight in our selected case studies.

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