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Social Innovation and Democratic Leadership

Communities and Social Change from Below Marc Parés, Geography Lecturer, Institute for Government and Public Policy, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, Sonia M. Ospina, Professor of Public Management and Policy, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, US and Joan Subirats, Professor of Political Science, Institute for Government and Public Policy, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
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.
Extent: 288 pp
Hardback Price: $135.00 Web: $121.50
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78536 787 8
Availability: In Stock
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  • Geography
  • Human Geography
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Public Choice
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Social Policy in Emerging Countries
While liberal-representative democracies tend to conform to a consensus-based post-political paradigm where there is no space for alternatives and dissensus, new forms of democracy in practice are emerging from below. This book explores new socially innovative initiatives that have appeared following the 2011 global uprisings. Initiatives that flourish not only as alternative responses to current social needs but also as new forms of democracy, a democracy that comes from below, by and for the ‘have-nots’.

Combining theories of social innovation and collective leadership, this book analyzes how disadvantaged communities have addressed the effects of economic recession in two global cities: Barcelona and New York. It draws upon several socially innovative initiatives in four neighbourhoods, and offers new knowledge, ideas and tools, both to better understand how social needs could be effectively and democratically satisfied, and to foster social change initiatives at the community level. Civic capacity and democratic leadership practices emerge as crucial factors to make social change happen.

The book advances both theoretical and empirical understandings of social change and will appeal to scholars in urban studies, geography, leadership studies, political science and sociology. It will also be of interest to practitioners, policy makers and leaders in social organizations, as it provides ideas and tools to help foster social change.
‘Since the 1970s cities have been inundated by socio-economic crises: the reinstitution of urban unevenness was accelerated by the first oil crisis, the deregulation of labour markets, privatization of prosperous and equity-generating public activities, financial and mortgage-related catastrophes, environmental injustices in the built environment, and so forth. For decades citizens in the most affected urban neighbourhoods have fought back against these ordeals. In their book, Marc Parés, Sonia M. Ospina and Joan Subirats critically explore these urban struggles. The authors demonstrate how socially innovative collective practices emerging from below, become powerful socio-political movements capable of transforming market democracy into people-centred and bottom-linked democracy.’
– Frank Moulaert, University of Leuven, Belgium

‘In this book the authors disentangle why some social innovations work in the most vulnerable and disenfranchised neighbourhoods. From a leadership perspective, what becomes evident is that no one person galvanizes a neighborhood; rather, progress often comes about through social collective practices and agency. Furthermore, as the authors point out, democratic change arises from below, for and by the “have-nots.” Readers are treated both to insightful theory-building, particularly using constructionist insight, and to in-depth application, through four well-documented case studies.’
– Joe Raelin, The Asa Knowles Chair of Practice-Oriented Education, Northeastern University, US
Contents: Introduction and overview PART I - SOCIAL INNOVATION AGAINST THE CRISIS: FRAMING OUR RESEARCH 1. Social innovation and relational leadership: opening up new perspectives on social change 2. Geographies of crisis: comparing the United States and Europe through New York and Barcelona PART II - THEORIZING SOCIAL CHANGE THROUGH NEIGHBOURHOOD FEATURES AND LEADERSHIP 3. Neighbourhood resilience, civic capacity and historical-geographical context 4. Democratic leadership: the work of leadership for social change PART III - COMMUNITIES ENGAGED IN SOCIAL CHANGE: ANALYSING SOCIAL INNOVATION FROM BELOW 5. Bushwick: emerging innovations in a dramatically gentrified neighbourhood 6. South Bronx: a whole community fighting social exclusion 7. Nou Barris Nord: community resistance in a highly vulnerable context 8. Sants: seeking autonomous self-management from below 9. Learning from socially innovative initiatives and leadership practices Index