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Transitions towards new economies? A transformative social innovation perspective

Authors: Avelino, Flor; Dumitru, Adina; Longhurst, Noel, Wittmayer, Julia; Hielscher, Sabine; Weaver, Paul; Cipolla, Carla; Afonso, Rita; Kunze, Iris; Dorland, Jens; Elle, Morten; Pel, Bonno; Strasser, Tim; Kemp, René and Haxeltine, Alex
Publication date: 2015
Keywords: case studies, new economy, Transformative Social Innovation

This paper was presented at the 6th International Sustainability Transitions (IST) Conference, Sustainability Transitions and Wider Transformative Change Historical Roots and Future Pathways, 25th – 28th August 2015, Brighton, University of Sussex Campus (Falmer), UKSPRU Working Paper Series (ISSN 2057-6668).

There are numerous social innovation networks and initiatives worldwide with the ambition to contribute to transformative change towards more sustainable, resilient and just societies. Many of these have a specific vision on the economy and relate to alternative visions of a ‘New Economy’. This paper highlights four prominent strands of new economy thinking in state-of-the-art discussions: degrowth, collaborative economy, solidarity economy, and social entrepreneurship. Taking a perspective of transformative social innovation, the paper draws on case studies of 12 social innovation initiatives to analyse how these relate to new economies and to transitions toward new economic arrangements. The 12 cases are analysed in terms of a) how they relate to narratives of change on new economies, b) how they renew social relations, and c) how their new economy arrangements hold potential to challenge established institutional constellations in the existing economy.


Avelino, F., Dumitru, A., Longhurst, N., Wittmayer, J., Hielscher, S., Weaver, P., Cipolla, C., Afonso, R., Kunze, I., Dorland, J., Elle, M., Pel, B., Strasser, T., Kemp, R., and Haxeltine, A. (2015) Transitions towards new economies? A transformative social innovation perspective (TRANSIT working paper ; 3), TRANSIT: SSH.2013.3.2-1 Grant agreement no: 613169.

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