WP 4 – Social innovative practices, what can we learn?

This WP looks at local social innovative practices as an alternative way of revealing ‘social needs’ and trends in poverty and social exclusion. Some of these may not show up in indicators drawn from national-level data sets because of lack of available data on particular dimensions or forms of social exclusion and poverty, difficulties in quantification or because social needs that are highly concentrated in particular disadvantaged areas disappear from sight when measured on a wider spatial scale .

As bottom-up responses from society to new social needs and because of its integrated (as opposed to sectoral) approach to social exclusion, the importance it accords to collective action and community dynamics in overcoming social exclusion (Oosterlynck, 2011) and its strong focus on the multi- dimensionality of social needs (Moulaert, 2002, 2010), socially innovative practices can help us to overcome the limitations of statistical indicators.

This analysis will be based on a selective review of the scientific and policy-oriented literature on local social innovation. The expected result is a list of social needs and trends in poverty and social exclusion that are revealed by socially innovative practices since 1980. This list will complement the insights of the quantitative analyses of new and growing inequalities in Europe in WP 1.