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Just do it; Shifting dimensions of social innovation in Basic Income experiments

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Abstract

Social innovation, understood as change in social relations, is gaining currency as an answer to contemporary societal challenges. On the account of transformative SI, it can challenge, alter and replace the knowings and doings of existing social structures. There is a duality in SI however, as it unavoidably also draws on and reproduces those. This duality does not warrant skepticism, but calls for critical interpretive analysis. Approached critically, social innovation is neither reduced to a magic panacea nor to an ideological ploy. It is just a set of practices in which structure-agency dialectics are particularly intricate and dynamic. This paper elucidates the aforementioned SI duality through a closer examination of its multiple dimensions. SI can be seen to involve new ways of doing, organizing, framing and knowing. Insights from Science and Technology Studies remind us that these dimensions are co-constitutive and co-productive: new doing presupposes a degree of new knowing, for example. Nevertheless, these four dimensions are sufficiently distinct from each other to help untangle empirical cases of innovation-reproduction duality and, at the same time, subject the four-dimensional heuristic to critical testing. The paper presents a case study on the Basic Income, as a social innovation with strong transformative ambitions towards a re-constituted social security. The principled advocacy for it has evoked somewhat intractable controversies about expected effects. However, there is also a recent trend towards more pragmatic approaches. Whether through crowdfunding or governmental experimentation, these initiatives seem to bypass the principled debates and aim for concrete demonstrations instead. ‘Just do it’, seems to be the motto. Mistrusted as watering down by principled Basic Income advocates, eagerly followed by media and attractive for local governments, the involved protagonists clearly struggle to untangle the innovative and reproductive ramifications of this shift in approach. This debate is clarified and deepened by highlighting how new forms of activism and experiments entail shifting dimensions of social innovation.
Just do it! Shifting dimensions of social innovation in Basic Income
experiments
Pel, B.1 & Backhaus, J.2
Interpretive Policy Analysis conference, July 5th -7th 2016, Hull (UK),
Abstract
Social innovation, understood as change in social relations, is gaining currency as an answer to
contemporary societal challenges. On the account of transformative SI, it can challenge, alter and
replace the knowings and doings of existing social structures. There is a duality in SI however, as
it unavoidably also draws on and reproduces those. This duality does not warrant skepticism, but
calls for critical interpretive analysis. Approached critically, social innovation is neither reduced
to a magic panacea nor to an ideological ploy. It is just a set of practices in which structure-
agency dialectics are particularly intricate and dynamic.
This paper elucidates the aforementioned SI duality through a closer examination of its multiple
dimensions. SI can be seen to involve new ways of doing, organizing, framing and knowing.
Insights from Science and Technology Studies remind us that these dimensions are co-
constitutive and co-productive: new doing presupposes a degree of new knowing, for example.
Nevertheless, these four dimensions are sufficiently distinct from each other to help untangle
empirical cases of innovation-reproduction duality and, at the same time, subject the four-
dimensional heuristic to critical testing.
The paper presents a case study on the Basic Income, as a social innovation with strong
transformative ambitions towards a re-constituted social security. The principled advocacy for it
has evoked somewhat intractable controversies about expected effects. However, there is also a
recent trend towards more pragmatic approaches. Whether through crowdfunding or
governmental experimentation, these initiatives seem to bypass the principled debates and aim
for concrete demonstrations instead. ‘Just do it’, seems to be the motto. Mistrusted as watering
down by principled Basic Income advocates, eagerly followed by media and attractive for local
governments, the involved protagonists clearly struggle to untangle the innovative and
reproductive ramifications of this shift in approach. This debate is clarified and deepened by
highlighting how new forms of activism and experiments entail shifting dimensions of social
innovation.
1 Université Libre de Bruxelles (BE), Bonno.Pel@ulb.ac.be
2 Maastricht University (NL), j.backhaus@maastrichtuniversity.nl
1 Introduction: Basic Income experimentation between transformation and
reproduction
As dominant market and state institutions are widely perceived to fail to deliver solid solutions
to social challenges like social security, sustainable development, social inclusion and
democratic decision-making, a wide array of initiatives towards transformative social innovation
(TSI) have emerged in the last decades (Moulaert et al. 2013; Klein et al. 2016). Such TSI is
often carried by earlier new social movements (Lévèsque 2016), but has a specific orientation
beyond critique towards innovation and the active construction of new practices. Social
innovation, defined as new social relations comprising new ways of doing, organising, framing
or knowing, can be said to have transformative ambitions, potential or impact if it challenges,
alters or replaces dominant institutions (Haxeltine et al. 2015).
A much-debated theoretical issue regarding TSI is precisely this transformative ambition. How
transformative can it be, considering the evident appeal it has but also the potential threat it
poses to the very dominant institutions that TSI initiatives are seeking to challenge, alter and
replace? SI comprises a duality by simultaneously drawing on and reproducing as well as
questioning and reshaping dominant ways of doing, organising, framing and knowing. Put
differently, SI is active along all, yet innovative only along some of these co-producing
dimensions (Haxeltine et al. 2015).
This paper engages with this debate (on SI duality) by addressing the particular trend in TSI-
processes towards experimentation and concrete co-created action (Voorberg et al. 2015). This
turn towards experimentation and concreteness, next to political advocacy, scientific reflection
and activist awareness-raising manifests particularly clearly in the case of the Basic Income
(BI). The BI has a vast intellectual history as an alternative institutional model for social
security and principle for social justice (Van Parijs 1995, Vanderborght & Van Parijs 2005), but
recently the political advocacy seems to be complemented by various kinds of experimentation
and concrete action: BI-inspired experimentation, civic petitions, initiatives towards referenda,
schemes for crowd-funded basic income are all reflections of a disposition of ‘Just do it’. This
clearly raises considerable public interest in the Basic Income, but is also evoking critical
questions, heated debate and a degree of confusion amongst BI advocates. Is it the breakthrough
of bottom-up ‘just do it’ mentalities after ineffective mere talk? Or is it a watering down of
transformative principles, silently reproducing the ways of doing, organizing, framing and
knowing prevailing in society?
These divergent reactions in the public debate reflect an acute awareness of the discursive
intricacy inherent to these experiments. Apart from the aforementioned SI-debates on
transformation and reproduction of dominant institutions, the public reactions also acknowledge
how these abundantly broadcasted and publicized experiments and demonstrations are bound up
with tendencies towards evidence-based policy (Taylor 2013; Cairney 2016), with complex
processes of reality co-production (Jasanoff 2004; Voß & Freeman 2015), and ultimately with
broader shifts in governmentality i.e. webs of technologies, procedures, rationalities and
discourses that together shape behaviours of individuals and groups (Foucault 1998;
Swyngedouw 2005; Pel et al. 2016). These themes of STS research seem indispensable for a
critical and nuanced appreciation of contemporary Basic Income enactments. Importantly in
addition to their power to scrutinise the optimistic ‘just do it’ attitude – these STS insights point
out that the assessment of transformation and reproduction effects requires first of all a detailed
empirical analysis of how the experiments package and re-package, shape and re-shape this TSI
concept. Our empirical account will elicit that the Basic Income is at once a very simple and a
highly multi-dimensional concept.
Our empirical analysis is first of all meant to clarify the stated societal debate. The guiding
research questions are the following: How is the promotion of Basic Income transforming?
Which variations can be distinguished? And how does this change the ways in which the concept
is challenging, altering, replacing and reproducing dominant institutions? Further aims of the
paper are to draw out implications of these dynamics for the research on emerging TSI
governmentalities and the dimensions through which TSI is co-produced.
The paper is structured as follows. After a historical-systematic exposition on the Basic Income
and the (experimenting and principled) variations of promoting it (section 2), we invoke insights
on the co-production of social reality to present an analytical framework for the investigation of
Basic Income put-into-action (section 3). A brief methodological section accounts for our
selection from extensive empirical data and stylized representations of the Basic Income TSI
process (section 4). In the empirical analysis we consider the ‘Just do it’ approaches along the
analytical dimensions of doing, organizing, framing and knowing, highlighting how this
reshapes the BI concept (section 5). In the conclusion we develop synthesis observations to
answer our research questions, and consider the broader implications of the ‘Just do it’ attitude
for contemporary TSI processes (section 6).
2 Basic Income, principles and practices of a utopian concept
As introduced, the recent ways of promoting the Basic Income provide interesting examples of
the governmentalities that arise along with initiatives towards transformative social innovation.
This analysis of contemporary developments needs to be preceded by a brief exposition of this
transformation concept. This does not only serve systematic clarification, but also situates our
analysis in a discursive development that dates back decades or even centuries. Importantly, this
historical account is also a matter of being fair to the BI advocates that we studied. Without this
background, their criticisms and second thoughts regarding the recent experimental-pragmatic
approaches to BI promulgation and implementation are easily ridiculed as politically naïve
resistances of ‘hardliners’ and ‘Prinzipienreiter’. Substantial efforts have been devoted to the
careful elaboration of the concept into a compelling social critique and a scientifically
underpinned3 alternative model for social security.
The Basic Income in its basic form amounts to a state-provided entitlement of all citizens to an
income that covers subsistence more or less sufficiently and which is not conditional upon any
anterior achievements or present efforts. This leaves individuals free to generate additional
income, to devote their time to volunteering, to education or to care activities, and thus provides
the security on the basis of which they can shape their lives in accordance with their own
ambitions and talents. As has been argued by various politicians on the ‘left’ and ‘right’, political
theorists, economists, sociologist and utopian thinkers4, this model maximizes individual self-
determination whilst being fair and reasonably (cost-)efficient for society as a whole. Early
conceptions of state-provided financial or material allocations for the young, the elderly or the
poor date back to the 16th century but it was the English-American Thomas Paine5 two centuries
later who, in his pamphlet Agrarian Justice (1795), developed the idea of unconditional
payments as “a right and not a charity” to everyone at two decisive moments: the entering and
exiting of work life. Numerous variations based on differing principles have been formulated,
tested or even implemented since (e.g. a minimum income, a negative income tax, a demogrant,
a social dividend, or conditional social benefits). The Universal Basic Income, a monthly
individual, unconditional and universal payment in cash, remains only an idea to date. The grand
œuvre ‘Real Freedom for Allby Belgian political theorist Philippe Van Parijs (1997) can be said
to provide the most elaborate underpinning arguing for basic income as an arrangement that
considerably fits better with principles of social justice than existing institutional models do.
Together with other researchers, activists and critical thinkers, Van Parijs has been developing
the Basic Income concept through the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) since 1986 (A short
history of BIEN; personal communication). After several experiments led by national/federal
government in North America with different Basic Income variants during the 1970s (Widerquist
2002; Forget 2008), political interest on that side of the Atlantic dwindled only to re-kindle in
Europe less than a decade later when several groups and individuals came together for the first
international congress on the topic, organised by Van Parijs. On the final day of the get-together,
a group decided to launch what was then called the Basic Income European Network, featuring a
regular newsletter and biennial congresses. The BIEN network has grown continuously since
3 This is why the theme of evidence-based policy seems so relevant to me EBP seems an important element of
the BI theory of change, at least as regards the Royal Way strategy. And of course the whole experimentation
movement has much to do with trying to provide evidence (rather than more abstract arguments).
4 The politically so diverse list of basic income advocates features amongst many others Charles Fourier, John
Stuart Mill, Martin Luther King Jr., Bertrand Russell, Eric Olin Wright, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman,
Philippe Van Parijs, Claus Offe, Yanis Varoufakis.
5 During the 1770s, Paine’s well-known, crown-critical pamphlet Common Sense inspired, and his series The
American Crisis lashed on, the American Revolution for independence. He later moved to Paris and became
deeply involved in the French Revolution.
and, whilst retaining its acronym, changed its name to the Basic Income Earth Network in 2004,
acknowledging the large and continuously growing number of non-European individual
members and affiliated networks. Over the years, discussions shifted from ethical underpinnings
and the general (dis)advantages of a BI to the implications of a BI for specific groups or in
specific contexts and further to implementation strategies, incl. financing models, on a local,
national, regional or global scale. In other words, the outlook and activities of the network
became more policy-oriented, partially due to advancing research and debate and partially driven
by a growing number of people, in- and outside of the network, with an interest in carrying
discussions beyond academic and intellectual circles.
The BIEN network has promoted the Basic Income concept as a ‘real utopia’ (Olin Wright 2010;
Bregman 2016), stabilising its meaning through several criteria: The provision of a sufficiently
high payment (sufficiency) in cash to every citizen (universality) on an individual basis
(individuality), without means-test and work-requirement (unconditionality). Each of the four
criteria has been subject of debate: Universality through debates on citizenship, unconditionality
through debates on libertarian principles and on social and distributive justice, and sufficiency
through debates on democracy and a universal right to basic subsistence and social participation.
The latter criterion in particular divides also BI proponents in those asserting practical and
ethical reasons for an amount merely supplementary to other income and those who consider a
life in poverty undignified and unjustified, especially in wealthy societies.
For centuries and continuing today, there have been vehement discussions on the specific moral
principles and rights that should be served through basic income arrangements. Alongside those,
it has been discussed how such arrangements should be implemented or advocated for. As
advocacy network, BIEN has been particularly active in elaborating and systematizing the
various strategies of promoting the basic income that have been brought forward during its
existence. These strategies each have their particular theories of change and governmentalities.
As consecutive and overlapping development waves, they form the current repertoire of action as
it has historically developed (Cf. Groot & van der Veen 2001).
1) Social critiques (articulating the flaws and pathologies of dominant institutions and positing
how the counterfactual utopia of a BI would perform better)
2) Royal Way (calculating, modelling and substantiating how BI scores well on some key
welfare indicators and economic performance criteria, and mobilizing the evidence to
persuade politicians and voters into full-fledged implementation)
3) Implementation through the back door or by stealth (exploring, arguing and
reconstructing how BI principles could be implemented through other sequences of political
events than one-shot, comprehensive and principled Royal Way welfare restructuring).
As indicated upfront, these three lines of approach are increasingly becoming complemented
with and challenged by what might be considered a fourth one the ‘just do it’ approach of
experimentation, direct democracy and concrete action. This fourth approach comprises the re-
examination of early experiments during the 1970s (USA, Canada), the study of existing policy
schemes (Alaska, Brazil) and “win-for-life” lottery winners (Marx & Peeters 2004), as well as
research in the context of recent or currently running experiments (Namibia, India) and currently
planned BI-inspired experimentation (Netherlands, Finland, Canada). Moreover, it comprises
petitions and citizensinitiatives on national and international level (Germany, Netherlands, UBI
Europe), crowd-funding initiatives (Germany, Netherlands, USA, globally), referenda
(Switzerland) and various forms of online activism (Backhaus & Pel 2016).
Not only the interpretation of the Basic Income concept itself but also the particular way chosen
to propagate it evokes heated discussions. In the next section we develop an analytical
framework for critical-interpretive analysis of BI put into action. Following insights from
Science and Technology Studies, this involves sometimes subtle shifts in the new ways of doing,
framing, organising and knowing that are brought forward through social innovations.
3 TSI: the multiple dimensions of co-produced transformative social innovation
The organized promotion of the Basic Income concept by BIEN and its members can be
considered an example of Transformative Social Innovation. Similar to well-known initiatives
like Slow Food, Time Banks, Credit Unions, Transitions Towns, Hackerspaces and Living Labs
(Jorgensen et al. 2016/TRANSIT D4.4), they are engaged in efforts towards creating new social
relations that are challenging, altering and replacing dominant institutions (Haxeltine et al. 2015;
Avelino et al. forthcoming). Referring back to section 2, some BI proponents mainly invoke the
BI as a socially critical counterfactual that challenges the There Is No Alternative principle.
Others aim for altering them by formulating proposals for adaptations in social security and
unemployment benefits administration. Following the ‘Royal Way’ approach, the aim is even to
largely replace the existing social security apparatus by a nationally implemented and universally
scoped basic income entitlement. This transformative disposition towards challenging, altering
and replacing of dominant institutions sets BIEN apart from regular social innovation, which can
very well be innovative whilst largely6 reproducing or becoming isomorphic to dominant
institutions. The commercialized sharing schemes of Uber and AirBnB and the bureaucratized
organizations of the social economy are often-cited examples of this (Cf. Defourny & Nyssens
2008; Jessop et al. 2013; Bauler et al. in progress).
Social innovations can be social along various rationales, and that makes SI a highly complex
category (Rammert 2011). A still useful distinction to make is that social innovations are
innovative in bringing forth new social relations rather than technologies or products (Howaldt et
6 There is no absolute or clear-cut difference between TSI and SI, as they both reproduce dominant institutions. Still,
distinctions in transformative ambitions and impacts can be made.
al. 2015). In the case of the BI, this ‘bringing forth’ is non-trivial, however. Other than the
localized, collectives-initiated social enterprises, Ecovillages or maker-spaces, the basic income
amounts to a universal entitlement that as such tends to presuppose governmental
implementation. This particularity of the innovative concept leaves it somewhat difficult to
concretise, let alone realise, for the civil society actors and local collectives that are often at the
source of social innovations (Smith & Seyfang 2007; Moulaert et al. 2013). In fact, it raises the
questions of how this particular social innovation is being promoted, how it could spread and
eventually be realised.
The action through which the BI social innovation is promoted clearly hinges on communication.
As described in section 2, BIEN members argue for certain moral principles and conceptions of
the good life, expose counterfactual social orders, advocate institutional reforms and
implementation plans, and publish economical analyses and modelling results to substantiate
effects of certain basic income scenarios. Lacking the legal, financial and organizational
resources to implement basic income social security arrangements out of their own, they seek to
empower themselves in pursuing their transformative ambitions through the key resource of
knowledge, and through persuasive framings and narratives of social reality (Cf. Wittmayer et al.
2015). Even if actors involved may have this belief about their agency, this kind of social
innovation agency should not be reduced to lobbying the public authorities, or to generate an
evidence basis to inform public policy. As argued convincingly by Foucault (1991; 1998), the
strategic rationale for BIEN’s dispersal of alternative knowledge and framing of social reality is
that it reaches not only for the politicians who decide over social security arrangements.
Crucially, this promotion of social innovation confronts the economic models that shape the
feasibility of reforms, the social norms that shape assessments of fairness, the subjectivities that
shape voters’ and tax payers’ ideas on income entitlements and worthy citizenship, and the
general ethos about what constitutes a fulfilled life. BIEN’s actions impinge on the
governmentalities, the webs of technologies, procedures, rationalities and discourses that
together shape behaviours of individuals and groups, and through which the social security
arrangements are shaped (Rose et al. 2006). Subsequent work in Science and Technology Studies
has articulated in more detail how the social order is crucially shaped by technologies,
infrastructures, scripts, procedures, categorizations, accounting systems and various other kinds
of sedimented knowledge. As indicated by Voß & Freeman (2014:4), an evident scientization of
politics has come into effect already that should no longer surprise us. Social ordering “…is now
achieved by seeking to establish valid representations of reality and shared acceptance of the
factual conditions of collective action, rather than political representations of a collective will.
Entry into politics is marked not by the articulation of values and interests but by the acquisition
of expertise”.
BIENs particular forms of socially innovative agency are responding to a social reality in which
the proliferation of new ways of knowing and framing are increasingly important ways of
changing social relations. Still, the impression should be avoided as if this is the only way in
which socially innovative action can be waged. The earlier examples of social enterprises,
Ecovillages or maker-spaces remind that social innovations are also brought forward through
other, more tangible dimensions of socially innovative agency, namely through the
demonstration, showcasing and spreading of new ways of organizing and of doing (Cf.
Jørgensen et al. 2016). Referring to Foucault, such self-instigated, concrete and material action is
a way to intervene in the world that is very complementary to the propagation of new ways of
framing and knowing. As described in his account of ‘Other spaces’ or heterotopias, these
concrete and purposively constructed places are challenging and complementing the dominant
social relations as inscribed in the regular parts of the built environment (Foucault 1986).
Likewise, the aforementioned examples bring forward alternative ways of organizing that
establish conspicuous, awareness-raising deviations from the prevalent social order (Pel et al.
2016) but these ways of organizing materialize new framings and knowings of living and
producing together. As described in Chilvers & Longhurst (2015) and Haxeltine et al. (2015:11),
the different types of activity that social innovations are engaged with and their relations to the
social context can thus be roughly subsumed under new ways of organizing (modes of
organisation), knowing (the production of knowledge), doing (practices, activities), and framing
(cognitive framings/ models/ worldviews).
This DOFK is a shorthand heuristic that elegantly distinguishes the multiple dimensions through
which processes of transformative social innovation processes play out. It situates social
innovation in a socio-material social order that is co-produced. Co-production is shorthand for
the proposition that the ways in which we know and represent the world (both nature and
society) are inseparable from the ways in which we choose to live in it” (Jasanoff 2004:2). It
highlights “…the often invisible role of knowledges, expertise, technical practices and material
objects in shaping, sustaining, subverting or transforming relations of authority”. (idem:4). In
line with innovation sociologists inspired by actor-network theory, it is acknowledged that social
innovation is a deeply social-material process, which could even be considered an activity of re-
shaping ‘social technologies’ (Pinch et al. 1992:266). Beyond the acknowledgement of its social-
material character, the crucial implication of a co-production view is that it looks beyond the
constitution of entities and focuses on the interacting processes through which social innovation
develops (Jasanoff 2004:18/19). The co-production framework brings forward a hyper-dynamic
perspective in which the analytic problem of understanding change is resolved by being sensitive
to its ubiquitous occurrence (Abbott 2004:8). Social innovation, the bringing forth of new social
relations, is considered a multidimensional process in which new ways of doing, organising,
framing and knowing are deeply intertwined and mutually constitutive. Moreover, it is
acknowledged that these are networked processes of dispersed agents, who can communicate fast
but still may operate in parallel, fragmented fashion.
The co-production framework thus brings forward a view on processes of transformative social
innovation that is particularly suitable to help understand the particularities of the basic income
case. First of all, it is sensitive to the discursive approach to engendering transformations that
seems characteristic for the BIEN protagonists. Yet secondly, it does not fall into the idealistic
fallacy, and theorizes changes in ways of doing, organizing, framing and knowing as intertwined
changes in a socio-material societal order. Third, the framework helps us to understand the
relations between the three ways of promoting the BI distinguished earlier. The actions
associated with social critique, Royal Way and ‘implementation by stealth’ are overlapping in
time, informing each other, evoking contestations. Finally, the point of the DOFK heuristic is
thus NOT that the apparent fourth wave of the ‘just do it’ approaches are dedicated exclusively
to promoting ‘new doings’ and have nothing to do with the earlier approaches that rather sought
to disseminate new framings and knowings. The difference of recent approaches compared to
earlier Basic Income advocacy lies in bringing forward different ways of intervening into the
constant and mutually interacting changes in doing, organizing, framing and knowing.
4 Methodology
This study draws on a case study that formed part of a set of 20 case studies, conducted within
the framework of the TRANSIT project on Transformative Social Innovation (TSI). Compared
with other TRANSIT cases, the BIEN/Basic Income case struck us as an outlier in the population
of TSI initiatives: other than the many TSI initiatives undertaking, showcasing and
experimenting with new ways of doing and organizing, this initiative seemed to focus entirely on
the discursive promotion of new ways of framing and knowing (see section 3). The bet on
government-led TSI, in order to materialize a universal basic income, appeared to be quite
exceptional as well. This identification of an ‘outlier’ case merits methodological reflection. It
begs the question whether it is accurate to consider the Basic Income as a transformative social
innovation (rather than a ‘real utopia’, an alternative arrangement, a political-philosophical
concept, or an option on the menu of social security arrangements). Likewise, it is not self-
evident to consider the members of the BIEN network as social innovators (rather than as critical
researchers, advocates, or activists). These are non-trivial assumptions with a considerable
performative dimension, as the concept of social innovation is imbued with connotations of
constructive, creative, socially beneficial and valuable forms of agency (Pel & Bauler 2015). In
other words, our reflections on the ‘Just do it’ approaches and their difference with the
historically dominant approach of the ‘Royal Way’ is partly shaped by the accounts of TSI
agency developed in the parallel case studies.
Having placed this caveat, we have studied the case along the generic format developed for the
TRANSIT set of 20 cases (Jørgensen et al. 2016). Our case study focused on BIEN as
transnational network, and on two ‘local initiatives’ in Germany and the Netherlands. Part of this
approach of embedded units of analysis (Yin 2003), we also investigated other initiatives, actors
and institutions as co-producing agents in the spread and translation of basic income. We
followed a process approach, seeking to reconstruct how the basic income concept, as well as the
actors propagating it, evolved (Pettigrew 1997). We reconstructed in particular how the new
ways of doing, organizing, framing and knowing were propagated, which is partly a matter of
discourse analysis and partly an application of actor-network theory modes of inquiry that follow
the shaping of socio-material networks (Latour 2005). The case study relies on 20-30 semi-
structured interviews with key actors, a modest amount of observation of meetings, and selective
review of the substantial literature on the basic income concept itself and the development of its
political-societal uptake. For the reconstruction of the apparent recent trend towards Just do it
approaches, we have relied considerably on communications on Basic Income related websites
(Backhaus & Pel in progress).
In this paper we use the case study mainly to illustrate our points on co-produced TSI. We will
focus on the most recent period of the Basic Income social innovation process. The earlier ways
of promoting it, social critique, ‘Royal Way’ and ‘implementation through the back door’/by
stealth (see section 2) form contrasting backgrounds to the analysis of how the promotion of
Basic Income is transforming. Deploying a conceptual framework of co-produced transformative
social innovation, we unpack what is happening to BI promotion as it goes into the ‘just do it’
mode.
5 Empirical analysis: ‘Just do it’ approaches towards the Basic Income
In the following we analyse the recent wave of ‘Just do it’ approaches to realizing the BI
transformative potentials. These can be distinguished from the three earlier BI approaches of
social critique, Royal Way, and implementation through the back door. We focus on three
clusters of activities sharing the ‘Just do it’ disposition. Deploying the co-production framework
and the associated social innovation dimensions we describe initiatives towards crowd-funding
(5.1), petitions, calls for referenda and online activism (5.2), and experimentation (5.3).
5.1 Crowd-funding the BI: A utopian concept made real.
As indicated earlier, the main strategy of bringing forth the BI as a transformative social
innovation has for a long time been to produce authoritative evidence, articulate persuasive
critiques, and raise awareness. These activities should unsettle the dominant ways of knowing
and framing insisting that one should earn one’s income. Eventually, the ‘Royal Way’ approach
assumes, these actions should turn the political tide and thus pave the way for the large-scale
state reforms that ensure a universal unconditional basic income. This approach has gathered
many eminent politicians, political thinkers, sociologists and economists, jointly developing a
constellation of arguments and evidence that has been aptly called a ‘peat fire’ (Groot & van der
Veen 2001) an alternative sub-stream in the political imaginary that may not have surfaced
much, but nevertheless continues to smoulder.
As even staunch supporters of the BI admit however, the ‘peat fire’ has largely remained under
the surface and devoid of transformative impact. Several interviewees converged on the analysis
that the earlier waves of BIpropagation have been quite innocuous in their repetitive
promulgation of alternative knowings and framings. One of the BIEN founders even admitted to
having become tired of repeating the same messages. At a distance from the BIEN network and
its members, some BI-promoting individuals and collectives in Germany and in the Netherlands
are even more outspoken about the need to change strategy, and to make the utopian concept real
and tangible:
The small Dutch collective of MIES (‘Enterprise for Innovation in Economy & Society’, Cf.
MIES 2016) can be considered the exemplar for the recent ‘Just do it’ approaches. As a diverse
group of entrepreneurial, activist, curious individuals from various backgrounds they converged
on a great enthusiasm about the BI, but also on the conviction that the societal debate on it had
hopelessly become stuck. ‘Let’s just stop talking about that Basic Income’, one of them had
written in a blog that received considerable attention. They agreed that the Dutch debate had
become adversarial, repetitive, and especially entrenched: Proponents kept insisting on the
societal and individuals gains that would be achieved if a BI were implemented, sceptical
adversaries maintained that incentives towards paid labour would erode and overall economic
results would be dramatic. Crucially, the debate remained confined to speculative, ideologically
coloured conjectures about behavioural and societal effects that could never be observed. The
academic, language-only strategies of BIEN and affiliates would never succeed, as far as it did
not allow people to see, feel, and experience how life and society would be different.
‘Let’s just do it’, MIES members therefore decided in 2014. As a group of entrepreneurial,
creative individuals they considered that the best way to find out about a new concept like BI
was to test it. Moreover, they saw little point in further efforts towards influencing national-level
politics and seeking to find openings in the inert welfare state bureaucracy any innovation and
change would have to be realized on the local level anyway. Inspired by a German pioneer who
they found through the internet, they decided for a crowd-funding initiative that would finance
one individuals’ basic income of 1000 EU for one year. ‘You may be against it, or still not
convinced but at least you can see how it is for an individual to receive a basic income’. They
also sought to show how these new ways of doing involved new ways of organizing, highlighting
how social security and solidarity could be arranged without any bureaucratic intervention.
Citizens could contribute directly, seeing what they got for it. The selected recipient of the BI, a
local activist, community worker organizing an urban horticulture, meeting place and social
inclusion center, could be followed through their ‘Our Basic Income’ website. Through self-
recorded video blogs and media appearances he brought out ‘what he did with the money, and
what the money did with him’. This first BI-receiving individual and MIES’ pleas for broader
experimentation with the basic income received substantial media attention, as a nationally
broadcasted documentary testifies (Tegenlicht 2015).
This cluster of ‘Just do it’ initiatives expanded the action repertoire used for BI promotion
through its insertion of the crowdfunding mechanism, rooted in the cooperative movement and
recently successful in the context of arts and media projects. In Germany, it took one tech-savvy
individual who had, unintentionally and somewhat by coincidence, generated a basic income for
himself based on a well-running online business to make that transfer. Together with a friend and
business partner he started the first-of-its-kind BI crowdfunding initiative in 2014, with similar
initiatives springing up in the Netherlands, the US and on a global level. Over time, several tools
incentivising data provision and online customer sharing have been subverted and added to the
original and by now almost conventional crowdfunding contrivance inviting people to donate.
Beyond the ‘Royal Way’ approach and its longstanding bet on authoritative scientific evidence,
the crowd-funding initiatives added the authoritative experience of selected BI-recipients.
Instead of the ‘traditional’ articulation of social critique and utopian counterfactuals, reservation,
resentment or resistance against the basic income are thus deflated vis-á-vis concrete accounts of
individuals who put the money to ‘good’ use as they remain or become, active, socially engaged
and productive. More principled proponents question the authoritativeness of these BI
experiences, however. The limited duration and particularism towards lottery winners leaves the
crowdfunding remote from ‘the real thing’, an unconditional and universal basic income. The
considerable generation of media attention and exposure for the BI is appreciated across the
entire movement, yet principled supporters and scientific ‘purists’ somewhat dismissively frame
these achievements in terms of propaganda-effects’.
The crowd-funding initiators are very consciously less principled about the BI than is usual in
the BIEN network. Even if BIEN members like to stress that the BI is neither left nor right but
rather progressive, they do assume more principled political positions that are identifiably to be
found on the ‘left’ side of the political spectrum. Similar to MIES’ experimenting attitude, the
German crowdfunding initiators avoid a political appearance to ensure broadest possible support:
“We consciously decided to not appear political with My Basic Income and avoid being put into
the ‘left corner’ because we would not reach many people that we need to reach if a basic income
is ever to be implemented on national level.” (Jehia, personal communication). This apparent
consciousness of the advantages of transcending political positions is typical for the
crowdfunding initiators. It is partly a reflection of pragmatic, ideologically independent attitudes
and aversions to party politics and in that sense authentic. On the other hand, several of the
individuals involved are quite strongly in favour of a BI, and basically subscribe to the BIEN
ambitions towards the Basic Income as unconditional, individual and universal entitlement.
5.2 Petitions, referenda proposals and online activism: Beyond expertocracy
The social critique and Royal Way approaches are strongly focused on the unsettling of
dominant knowings and framings through compelling arguments. As becomes clear through the
vast academic literature on the transformative concept, this is work for specialists requiring
particular intellectual training and social capital for getting one’s message heard. These
approaches do not suit all the individuals that actively endorse the BI concept and seek to realize
some of its transformative potentials. Within BIEN there have been calls for a less scientific and
a more activist approach. And also beyond this network of initiative members (subscribing to
certain principles) there is a marked rise of initiatives that express desires to be involved with the
shaping of social security beyond the expertocracy that to a certain extent is prolonged by
BIEN’s academic mode of social innovation.
Similar to the crowdfunding initiatives, comparable to the first cluster of ‘Just do it’ initiatives
considered above, modern ICT features at the heart of this cluster: the internet, web 2.0 and
social media provided new possibilities that opened up political debate and decision-making.
This cluster of online petitions, national referenda and the use of online platforms thus comprises
new democratic fora to inform, debate and perhaps even decide about alternative social
arrangements. Also here, the broadening of the movement’s action repertoire to include petitions
was done by an initial ‘outsider’ in Germany who was at first regarded somewhat sceptically by
established, well-networked advocates. Quite distinctly, however, petitions were embraced by
the movement due to their way-paving potential towards ‘Royal Way’ implementation and as a
tool to promote the BI concept widely. In recent times there have been more petitions on national
(Dutch) and international (EU) level. Albeit only possible in some countries, national referenda
have also become part of the movement’s political agenda. The recent Swiss initiative, despite
predictably failing to achieve a majority, was celebrated as a major achievement in social media
for bringing it successfully on the way and gathering an undeniable near-quarter support of the
electorate. In the tradition of social movements and their global, persistent march for worldwide
recognition and Royal Way implementation of measures, the Swiss referendum was applauded
for setting off an avalanche of commentary and debate, also internationally, and for forcing
prominent figures in Switzerland and abroad to publically argue their position (Van Parijs,
2016a). Online activism, finally, lies at the core of the movement's business. Protruding
developments, events, videos or innovative ideas in any way relevant for the concept or its
promotion are posted and re-posted, tweeted and re-tweeted, blogged about and referred to,
shared and commented for broadest possible reach.
An early wave of activities aimed at informed debate to ‘convince the inconvincible’ of national
implementation. The initially secondary goal to raise general awareness became more central,
partially as people joined the BI movement who sought to become active, beyond the often
unsuccessful attempts to enter the public debate and party politics. The Dutch VBI, for example,
set up neighbourhood teams to institutionalise local activities in members’ immediate
surroundings. Also battles seemingly lost, like a European Citizens’ Initiative that failed to
gather sufficient support or the Swiss referendum won by the opposition, are appreciated for the
enormous publicity they yield. En route to national implementation, petitions, referenda and
online activism were thus quickly embraced by the movement that had initially focused on social
critique and ‘Royal Way’ implementation by providing argumentative ammunition and
experimental evidence to political decision-makers.
This cluster of activist rather than engaged-academic initiatives does not pose a fundamental
break away from the earlier waves of BI promotion. The transformative ambitions are largely
maintained, and the principled approach as well. It does reconfigure the ways in which the
attempted BI transformation is co-produced, however. The described actions draft more people
to become actively involved with the topic. This move beyond academic circles and formal
democratic decision-making towards broader societal engagement involved changes along all
socially innovative dimensions: the promotion of new framing and knowing was broadened, and
the organization of social security is challenged to become more responsive to the broader
public.
5.3 BI-inspired experiments: transformation through labs?
As discussed under section 5.1, the academic, discursive approach of BIEN protagonists to
promote new framings and knowings is challenged by relative outsider BI advocates who seek
concrete evidence. Their crowd-funding initiatives towards the latter generate considerable
exposure for the new ways of (self-determined, free, secure) doing that a basic income could
support. The traditional ‘Royal Way’ proponents generally acknowledge and applaud how this
helps to counter ideological dogmas and uninformed clichés about BI recipientsinclinations to
‘lapse into passivity’. The earlier waves of BI and especially the Royal Way display a strong
scientistic striving towards speaking truth to power and evidence-based policy (reforms). A
significant archive of knowledge has been developed on the strategic reasons to experiment with
such a radical concept (Groot 2006), on the methodological side-constraints for such experiments
(Standing 2012), but also on the fundamental limitations that experiments have in simulating a
real-world basic income. After all, the experiment population will know to be involved in only a
temporary experiment (Van Parijs 2016b).
Throughout its history and extending until today, there has been experimentation initiated or
backed by policy. The Mincome experiments in Canada, similar efforts in the US in the 1970s as
well as experimentation efforts in developing countries (Standing 2013; Haarmann et al. 2009)
are currently followed up by experimentation initiatives in the Canadian province of Ontario and
Finland. In light of groaning social security systems, policy-makers appear more inclined to
consider alternatives. Still, our case study findings suggest that the recent developments towards
experimentation with (elements of) basic income should not be mistaken for or reduced to
experimental corollaries of BIEN’s program of scientifically underpinned transformation. The
Dutch trajectory towards basic income-inspired experimentation provides a striking example of
the more complex ways in which the knowings and framings of basic income are co-produced. It
exemplifies a broader phenomenon of social innovation labs.
The aforementioned MIES collective have played an important part in welding a broad and
diverse network of actors who seek to experiment with social security arrangements, and
especially with the conditionality of welfare benefits. The basic income serves as an important
background to these experimentation plans. The plans are informed by its key alternative way of
knowing and framing, namely the idea that social security without conditions (means testing,
requirement to accept jobs) will empower people towards active, self-determined and fulfilling
lives which in turn will be more fair and efficient, and less bureaucratic. The experimentation
network hinges on two groups of actors, with media dynamics as a crucial co-producing factor.
First, there is a group of various civil society actors that have gathered around MIES’ ambition to
experiment with Basic Income principles. Similar to MIES they seek to create concrete projects,
and stimulate societal debate on alternative ways of organizing social security. The shared
attitude is enterprising, socially innovative, experimentation-minded, and especially non-
ideological. The marked difference with earlier basic income advocates is that they want to see
what works, and seek to stimulate an open societal debate in which entrenched positions are left
behind. They mobilize the basic income concept as a concept that has already gained a certain
public recognition, yet also use this framing with caution as a radical concept that has long
been a hobby-horse of the political left-wing, it evokes strong aversions.
Second, there is a broad group of municipal governments that share concerns over the
administration of unemployment benefits. Since a recent devolution operation by national
government, they are experiencing difficulties to implement the associated policies of re-
deployment programs, controls on the compliance of unemployed individuals with the conditions
for welfare entitlements, and more generally the way in which the bureaucratic system is
generating side-effects like social exclusion, alienation and frustration. The budgetary
implications of the devolution are another cause for the municipal governments’ dissatisfaction
with the current relations between national and local level government. Administrators and
council members in many Dutch municipalities have therefore become particularly interested in
experimentation with more lenient regulations in the administration of social benefits.
Importantly, this experimentation is often forming part of broader programs in which local
governments seek to re-invent their governance making it more participative, more
experimenting, more innovative. The BI-inspired experiments fit well into this broader trend
towards co-created labs.
These two groups have come together through important policy entrepreneurship through a
dedicated experimentation broker (Backhaus & Pel forthcoming ), and through their different
but overlapping interests in BI-inspired experimentation. The development of this
experimentation network cannot be understood without the media dynamics that developed
between 2014 and 2016. An first impulse to the Dutch media hype on the basic income was
given by the critical-journalist publication of Bregman (2014). It inspired various of the
experimenters, but also revived the public interest in the B.I. The crowd-funded basic income of
MIES made for another stream of media attention. Moreover, there the documentary makers of
Tegenlicht broadcasted several episodes dedicated to the BI concept and to the experimentations,
and organized meet-up sessions on them across the Netherlands. Mainstream media followed,
and continued to bring out news on the basic income experiments as various middle-sized cities
announced their experimentation ambitions. This media exposure flared up again once the
responsible Secretary of State faced a parliamentary motion in favour of such local-level
experimentation: The current stage of the experimentation trajectory is that the administrative
details and regulatory scope for it are being elaborated.
The Dutch trajectory towards BI-inspired experimentation can thus be seen to achieve an
impact that has arguably been seldom witnessed in BIEN history. It has often been indicated
however that some key framings and knowings of the Basic Income are relegated to background.
Similarly it has been argued that the experiments are not real BI experiments, as they are of
limited duration, limited to particular target groups, and only quite marginally tinkering with the
conditionality of unemployment benefits. Moreover, both proponents and opponents have doubts
about the mediatised, politicized environment in which the experiments will be held, casting
doubt on what can be learnt from the evidence. The experimentation trajectory shows the quite
complex ways in which the knowings and framings of basic income are co-produced: Other than
a matter of Basic Income, the crucial issue seems to have become what scope for
experimentation and responsibilities for social security should be granted to local-level
governments, who have started to challenge the centralized social security system for its inertia.
6 Synthesis/Conclusion: ‘Just do it’ approaches and the co-production of Basic Income
Based on three clusters of ‘just do it’ approaches to the promotion of the Basic Income, we draw
out some main observations. We have considered these approaches as a new wave in the
promotion of the Basic Income, after the social critique, Royal Way and implementation through
the back door/by stealth approaches (section 2). The new approaches differ significantly from the
earlier more principled approaches, and this gives rise to a certain degree of contestation. In the
introduction we therefore raised the following questions: How is the promotion of Basic Income
transforming? Which variations can be distinguished? How does this change the ways in which
the concept is challenging, altering, replacing and reproducing dominant institutions? Is it the
breakthrough of bottom-up ‘just do it’ mentalities after ineffective ‘mere talk’? Or is it a
watering down of transformative principles, silently reproducing the ways of doing, organising,
framing and knowing prevailing in society?
We have sought to clarify how these questions reflect important concerns of the actors involved,
developing an understanding of recent developments that is more nuanced than the discussions
about watering down. Our framework of co-produced transformative social innovation (section
3) served to unpack in more detail how the ‘Just do it’ approaches entail subtle changes in a
longer history of Basic Income promotion. The co-production perspective helps towards the
following observations:
First, the Just do it approaches indicate moves away from the earlier ways of promoting the BI.
They largely abandon the idea that persuasively voiced social critique is a key driver of change.
Also the development of a scientific evidence basis is considered insufficiently decisive in the
face of entrenched political positions and an altogether abstract debate. For lack of concrete
evidence of the new doings that a basic income would enable, associated framings and knowings
remain to a certain extent hypothetical guesswork, precluding nuanced discussion. In conjunction
with these departures from and disenchantment with the longstanding discursive strategies, the
‘Just do it approaches divert from the Royal Way. Even apart from the scope for successful
communication of the new knowings and framings, the new wave of BI promoters seem less
inclined to bet on a sufficiently bold parliament to instigate radical reform of the Welfare system.
Hence the considerable doubts that arise about this new wave of BI. The crowdfunding
initiatives may be seen to breathe life into the somewhat abstract BI concept by letting people see
how it is experienced. From a principled perspective however, the crowdfunding turns a
fundamental right of all into a lottery for some. Likewise, online activism, petitions and
initiatives towards referenda may bring political agenda-setting and decision-making more firmly
into the people’s hands, yet it can be questioned to what extent this brings the desired
transformation of social security any closer. Finally, significant ambiguities remain surrounding
the experiments. On the one hand, they are acknowledged as crucial steps towards an open
societal debate, and towards generation of an evidence base. On the other hand, they are known
to be inherently limited, and as such possible ways of channelling the transformative BI concept
into a neutralised, compartmentalised and projectified form. The enthusiasm of principled BI
supporters about the experiments’ ‘propaganda effect’ also implies a dismissal: It is not the real
thing, and not the ultimate scientific proof.
Second however, it has become evident that these significant breaks with earlier waves of BI
promotion are easily exaggerated. The ‘Just do it’ approaches are not at all moving away from
promoting the alternative knowings and framings contained in the BI discourse, such as the
reframed understanding of participation in society, the often neglected knowing that paid labour
is becoming ever more scarce, and the carefully developed set of evidence that challenges the
efficiency and superiority of the current social security arrangements. The new approaches are
still very much resting on communication, and on persuasive presentation of new ways of
framing and knowing. The pragmatic rather than principled crowd-funding and experimenting
initiatives may appear to go along with post-political ideology, but this is mainly following from
political awareness. In a way ‘Just do it’ approaches apply the notion of ‘by stealth’ or ‘through
the back door’ implementation, both of which constitute pragmatic-political adaptations to the
Royal Way. The Just Do It’ approaches are often just slightly re-inventing, re-packaging and
recombining the core transformative contents of the Royal Way. Aware of the decades-long,
fruitless knocking on the front door, there is a search for ways of knowing, framing, organising
and doing that may be granted the right of access more easily.
Third, there is an unmistakeable intertwinement between the three Just do it approaches
mutually, and between these approaches and the three earlier waves of promoting the BI. The
experimentation initiatives are connected to the crowd-funding initiatives, and can be seen to
connect the experimenting of civil society actors with similar ambitions of experimenting
governments that seek to re-invent their relationships with citizens. Online activists eagerly
communicate about the experimenting activities, and seek to translate ‘trending topic’ in political
agenda-setting. Administrators and political representatives follow these debates and media
developments, and refer to them to legitimise initiatives. Meanwhile, the Just do it approaches
are clearly relying on the discursive archive created by the social critique, Royal Way and
‘implementation by stealth’ argumentations. Inversely, the earlier approaches keep being pursued
in different combinations, with the BIEN network as the group of actors that sustains the Royal
Way. For them, the described trend towards more experimenting than principled approaches is
easily reduced to a matter of evidence-base and propaganda effect, and to knowings and
framings that are communicated in watered down fashion. Our co-production analysis has shown
that this under-estimates the intertwinement between the different ways of promoting the BI, and
the changing socio-material context of which the communication infrastructure is the most
evident one. The new ways of promoting the BI are clearly bringing forth other ways of working
on the different dimensions of transformative social innovation, and connecting the BI with
broader change processes. Returning to the description of BI as a peat-fire, it can be said that it
has recently ignited, and is fed with fuels of different kinds.
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Interviews
Position
Name
Date(s)
Co-founder of the Collectif Charles Fourier
Paul-Marie Boulanger
30/07/2015
Chairman VBI
Adriaan Planken
26/08/2015
MIES member
Ronald Mulder
27/08/2015
BIEN co-founder & former BIEN board member
Philippe van Parijs & Yannick Vandenborght
01/09/15
BIEN Newsletter editor, webmaster
Karl Widerquist
07/09/2015
Netzwerk Grundeinkommen board member
Stefan Ziller
11/09/2015
Netzwerk Grundeinkommen co-founder and board member
Ronald Blaschke
12/09/2015
former BIEN board member
Almaz Zelleke
16/09/2015
BIEN co-founder
Guy Standing
16/09/2015
MIES member
Joop Roebroek
24/09/2015
Freiheit statt Vollbeschäftigung co-founder and spokesperson
Sascha Liebermann
29/09/2015
board member of Cologne Netzwerk Grundeinkommen
Felix Coeln
29/09/2015
VBI vice-chairman
Willem Gielingh
04/11/2015
MIES member
Frans Kerver
05/11/2015
Alderman Groningen municipality
Matthias Gijsbertsen
06/11/2015
Experiment promoter/VBI member
Sjir Hoeijmakers
12/11/2015
former BIEN board member
Yannick Vandenborght
21/12/2015
Mein Grundeinkommen initiative
Amira Jehia
21/12/2015
Initiator of German online petition
Susanne Wiest
22/04/2016
Basic Income researcher/VBI member
Loek Groot
23/02/2016
Book
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Monografijoje atskleidžiamos Lietuvos vyresnio amžiaus (60 m. ir vyresnių) gyventojų demografinės tendencijos (jų skaičiaus dinamika ir sociodemografinės charakteristikos) bei socialinės įtraukties klausimai. Ypatingas dėmesys skiriamas tiems, kurie gyvena būste vieni. Kiek vyresnio amžiaus žmonių gyvenimas po vieną yra susijęs su asmens rizika patirti socialinę atskirtį, izoliaciją ir vienatvę? Kaip jie patys suvokia savo laisvę, vienatvę, socialinį dalyvavimą, senatvę? Šie ir kiti klausimai nagrinėjami, išeities tašku pasirinkus mokslinės literatūros analizę ir naudojant plačius statistikos bei originalaus sociologinio tyrimo (kiekybinio ir kokybinio), finansuoto Lietuvos mokslo tarybos (sut. Nr. GER-001/2017), duomenis. Monografijos tikslinė auditorija pirmiausiai yra mokslo bendruomenė, tačiau tekstą rengėme atsižvelgdamos taip pat į plačios ir mišrios auditorijos – studentų ir doktorantų, nevyriausybinių organizacijų ir politikos formuotojų – poreikius. Tikimės, kad knyga sudomins ne tik įvairių sričių profesionalus ir būsimuosius specialistus, dirbančius / ketinančius dirbti vyresnio amžiaus žmonių gerovei, bet ir plačią visuomenę. SUMMARY in English provided at p.191-198. List of Tables and Figures p. 4-8.
Book
Full-text available
Monografijoje atskleidžiamos Lietuvos vyresnio amžiaus (60 m. ir vyresnių) gyventojų demografinės tendencijos (jų skaičiaus dinamika ir sociodemografinės charakteristikos) bei socialinės įtraukties klausimai. Ypatingas dėmesys skiriamas tiems, kurie gyvena būste vieni. Kiek vyresnio amžiaus žmonių gyvenimas po vieną yra susijęs su asmens rizika patirti socialinę atskirtį, izoliaciją ir vienatvę? Kaip jie patys suvokia savo laisvę, vienatvę, socialinį dalyvavimą, senatvę? Šie ir kiti klausimai nagrinėjami, išeities tašku pasirinkus mokslinės literatūros analizę ir naudojant plačius statistikos bei originalaus sociologinio tyrimo (kiekybinio ir kokybinio), finansuoto Lietuvos mokslo tarybos (sut. Nr. GER-001/2017), duomenis. Monografijos tikslinė auditorija pirmiausiai yra mokslo bendruomenė, tačiau tekstą rengėme atsižvelgdamos taip pat į plačios ir mišrios auditorijos – studentų ir doktorantų, nevyriausybinių organizacijų ir politikos formuotojų – poreikius. Tikimės, kad knyga sudomins ne tik įvairių sričių profesionalus ir būsimuosius specialistus, dirbančius / ketinančius dirbti vyresnio amžiaus žmonių gerovei, bet ir plačią visuomenę. The monograph reveals demographic trends of the Lithuanian older (60 years and older) population (dynamics of their quantities and socio-demographic characteristics) and issues of social inclusion. Particular attention is paid to those who live in dwelling alone. How much living alone in the second half of life is related to the risk of person to experience social exclusion, isolation and loneliness? How do they perceive their freedom, loneliness, social participation, and old age? These and other issues are studied starting with the analysis of scientific literature and using extensive statistical data, as well as data from original sociological research (quantitative and qualitative) funded by the Lithuanian Research Council (contract No. GER-001/2017). The target audience for the monograph is primarily the scientific community, but we have prepared the text also considering the needs of a broad and mixed audience - students and doctoral students, non-governmental organizations and policy makers. We hope that the book will be of interest not only for professionals and prospective professionals from various fields working / intending to work for the well-being of older people, but also for the general public.
Conference Paper
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Social innovation is increasingly believed to have a great potential for addressing persistent societal challenges such as sustainability, social inclusion, democratization and deprivation. We understand transformative social innovation (TSI) as social innovation that is aimed to challenge, alter, replace or provide alternatives to dominant institutions and structures. Efforts to institutionalize TSI ambitions tend to lead into a grey zone between transformation and reproduction. This contribution will follow earlier explorations into this territory that work with dialectical perspectives. As preparation for a broader comparative case study, we compare institutionalization dialectics as they unfolded in the cases of the Basic Income and Timebanks. We conclude with preliminary observations on these two cases, and evaluate how the dialectical framework helps to gain systematic insight into TSI institutionalization.
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The persistence of current societal problems has given rise to a quest for transformative social innovations. As social innovation actors seek to become change makers, it has been suggested that they need to play into impactful macrodevelopments or “game-changers”. Here, we aim to deepen the understanding of the social innovation agency in these transformation games. We analyze assumptions about the game metaphor, invoking insights from actor-network theory. The very emergence of transformation games is identified as a crucial but easily overlooked issue. As explored through the recent electricity blackout threat in Belgium, some current transformation games are populated with largely passive players. This illustrative case demonstrates that socially innovative agency cannot be presupposed. In some transformation games, the crucial game-changing effect is to start the game by activating the players.
Chapter
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Knowing Governance sets out to understand governance through the design and making of its models and instruments. How are new understandings of governance produced in practice, by scientists and policy makers and by the publics with whom they engage? How does politics work through the production of ideas and information that both describe and prescribe how governing is done? This book outlines and explores a new approach to the study of governance at the intersection of governmentality studies, interpretive policy studies and science and technology studies. Each chapter presents an empirically-grounded case study of how particular accounts of governing are worked out, and how new realities of governance emerge in the course of making it knowable. Each introduces and applies a key concept from science and technology studies, setting out a variety of ways of making knowledge about governance and its constituent politics.
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Bruno Latour once argued that science laboratories actively modify the wider society by displacing crucial actors outside the laboratory into the “field.” This article turns this idea on its head by using the case of geothermal energy utilization to demonstrate that in many cases it is the experimental setup outside the laboratory that is there first, with the activities normally associated with a laboratory setting only being decided upon and implemented post hoc. As soon as the actors involved perceive unknowns and uncertainties, these are relocated to various kinds of closed laboratories to be dealt with in a more controlled environment. This is done, for instance, by inviting stakeholders to laboratory-like settings or by analyzing the geochemical composition of fluids in laboratories. Thus, the risk-laden production of new knowledge by means of real-world experimentation amounts to a practice of relocating the context of discovery in society to laboratories of justification sometimes defined as such post hoc. Experimental processes in society can then be conceptualized as “real” experiments and laboratory activities as merely temporarily subordinated components of the larger experiment.
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