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The concept of the Anthropocene as a game-changer: a new context for social innovation and transformations to sustainability
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9038-4786
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. University of Victoria, Canada.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8837-524X
2017 (English)In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 22, no 2, article id 31Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

After tracing the antecedents of the concept and considering its intersection in social innovation research, we put forward the argument that the Anthropocene concept points to three areas of thought that are strategically imperative and must be accelerated if social innovation theory and practice is to prove transformative and respond to the challenges associated with the Anthropocene. First, we contend that the current debate on social innovation for sustainability lacks a deeper focus on human-environmental interactions and the related feedbacks, which will be necessary to understand and achieve large-scale change and transformations to global sustainability. Many innovations focus on only the social or the ecological, and we believe a more integrated approach will be needed moving forward. Second, social innovation research must confront the path-dependencies embedded within systems, and we propose that the act of "bricolage," which recombines existing elements in novel ways, will be essential, rather than single variable solutions, which currently dominate social innovation discussions. Finally, we put forward the idea that confronting the cross-scalar nature of the Anthropocene requires revisiting both the scope and temporal nature of social innovations that are most typically focused upon by scholars and funders alike. We believe the concept of the Anthropocene creates new opportunities for social innovation scholars to imagine new possibilities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 22, no 2, article id 31
Keywords [en]
Anthropocene, bricolage, scaling, social-ecological systems, social innovation, transformations to sustainability
National Category
Biological Sciences Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-151700DOI: 10.5751/ES-09310-220231ISI: 000404997600033OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-151700DiVA, id: diva2:1175085
Available from: 2018-01-17 Created: 2018-01-17 Last updated: 2018-01-24Bibliographically approved

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