Session C4: Social Innovation – Reinforcing the welfare state or a coping strategy by lack of better policies?

Session organisers: Stijn Oosterlynck, Yuri Kazepov & Andreas Novy

Chair: Stijn Oosterlynck





This session addresses the relationship between social innovation and the European welfare state. Since the late 1970s, the classical welfare state, based on social rights and offering social protection, has been undergoing dramatic changes in response to the emergence of new social risks and the new economic growth model of the knowledge-based economy. These changes pertain to its spatial organization (e.g. the increased importance of local social policies and actions), its institutional form (e.g. the proliferation of new civil society actors and social entrepreneurs in welfare arrangements) and its strategic objectives (e.g. the shift from passive social protection towards activation and social investment). The ongoing changes of welfare state arrangements foreground a concern with ‘innovation’ in discussions on social policy and action. This session presents research on local forms of social innovation and social service innovation that aims to shed light on the changing welfare state. The session builds on research that is conducted in the framework of two EU FP7 projects: namely ImPRovE (Poverty, Social Policy and Innovation) and Innoserv (Social Services Innovation). It aims to expand our understanding of social innovation by putting research results from both projects in a mutually enriching dialogue.


Background documents