Social innovation, an answer to contemporary societal challenges?
Locating the concept in theory and practice
Social innovation discourses see in social challenges opportunities to make societies more sustainable and cohesive through inclusive practices, coproduction and pro-active grassroots initiatives. In this paper we are concerned first that the concept has been stretched in so many directions that it is at breaking point. We illustrate this by documenting the varied uses of social innovation in different academic and policy discourses. Second, we assume that, if social innovation is to be a useful concept for policy-makers, then it must tell us something about what adjustments are needed to develop an effective political economy that is social innovation ready. Finally, we argue that what is needed is more theoretical and empirical work to help social innovation to develop into an effective policy tool.