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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 3: Neighbourhood resilience, civic capacity and historical–geographical context

Marc Parés, Sonia M. Ospina and Joan Subirats

Extract

Being geographically and institutionally embedded, social innovation has proven to be context-dependent. Social innovation does not emerge anywhere or at any time; not all communities produce the same type of socially innovative initiatives, nor to the same degree. This chapter draws upon the Urban Studies literature on the influence of neighbourhood characteristics on the life chances of individuals to better understand how and why social innovation emerges. We introduce some approaches and concepts, such as ‘civic capacity’, related to how historical and geographical context might enable or constrain community responses that arise from below. At the same time, neighbourhood resilience is explored as a useful approach to understanding the geographies of social innovation. The chapter concludes by raising several questions that will be empirically addressed through our case studies.

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