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“Ethics and economic space for social innovation – a capabilities perspective”

Quand :
12 décembre 2017 @ 17:15 – 18:45
Où :
Salle 309
2910 Boulevard Edouard-Montpetit
Montréal, QC H3T 1J7

Dans le cadre de ses midis de l’éthique, le CRÉ reçoit Rafael Ziegler (chercheur en séjour), qui offrira une présentation intitulée “Ethics and economic space for social innovation – a capabilities perspective”.


This presentation focuses on ethics and economic space for social innovation. Social innovation is not limited to innovation in markets.  Accordingly, the space at issue is not confined within markets either. To the contrary, there is frequently a tension between the search for profits and saving costs on the hand, and the search for social solutions on the other hand. For example, helping the least well-off is likely to cost more than helping the better-off in a marginalized group, and in either case there might be no product or service to be sold in the market. But how then to think about and how to analyse economic space for social innovation?

This presentation draws on a typology of modes of provision, or the ways in which a service or good is provided to users and beneficiaries. In addition to provision via markets, this adds modes of self, informal, public and professional provision. The typology is based on work at the intersection of economics and ethics (Anderson 1993, Claassen 2009). It provides an analytical tool for the ethical and economic analysis of social innovations and their reconfigurations beyond the market/non-market dichotomy. Collaborative pluralism refers to the varieties of modes of provision as well as their reconfiguration in social innovation.

For the ethical analysis, we draw on the capabilities approach as one contemporary ethical approach to theorizing about justice and development. If social innovation is about improving and securing capabilities (as outcome and in the process), what ethical issues and questions arise with respect to economic space for social innovation?  The following themes are identified:

  • Agency, its role and promotion in social innovation processes
  • Patients, and the consideration of subjects who either in principle or contingently at present are not able to voice their interests for themselves in social change processes.
  • Blocked modes of provision or blocked reconfigurations of modes of provision, where ethical reasons speak against the provision of a good or service in a specific mode
  • Fair space for social innovation and the challenge of no mode of provision dominating the other modes thereby reducing choices and opportunities across society.

The presentation is based on a chapter draft, co-authored with Nadia von Jacobi, for the book “Creating economic space for social innovation”, edited by Alex Nicholls and Rafael Ziegler, for the FP7-project CrESSI.

Source de l’image.