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Social innovation in Europe: what relation with solidarity economy? Towards a plural European vision of social innovation

Jean-Louis Laville, Rogerio Roque Amaro, janvier 2016

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Résumé :

Social innovation is on today’s [political] agenda. In Europe, the year 2009 was dedicated to creativity and

innovation; in 2010, the “union for innovation” initiative was promulgated by the Commission; in 2011, “Social

Innovation Europe” was launched. The European Union introduced social innovation in its strategic programming

towards 2020; the structural funds include it, as training programs managed by the Directorate of Employment and

Social Affairs.

Nevertheless, the popularity of social innovation goes hand in hand with the polysemy of the term.

To clarify the different uses, we will proceed in four phases. As a first step, we will insist on the importance of placing

social innovation at the heart of a debate, dating back over two centuries, between two conceptions of solidarity.

The assumption here is that social innovation is a reformulation and update of this debate, which will encourage us

to think in a long-term perspective. In a second step, we will briefly review the origins of the term social innovation

and the historical context of its emergence. Thirdly, we will identify two contrasting models of support for social

innovation that explain a number of contemporary ambiguities. Finally in a fourth stage, the challenges of

appropriate policy will be discussed.

Sources :

Conseil Consultatif du Ripess Europe