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Social business et initiatives citoyennes : deux modes d’institutionnalisation pour quelle innovation sociale ? by Antoine Perrin


This thesis is a sociological study of the institutionalization process of new initiatives which emerge from civil society actors and which aim at providing solutions to public problems. On the one hand, the social business developed by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus. On the other, initiatives developed by citizens in their territory. A study of the origins of social business and its results, and a field survey in eastern France with citizen initiatives around food (AMAPs, community gardens, community kitchen, urban farm …) allow us to conceptualize their modes of institutionalization. The first model appears to be vertical and compatible with the neoliberalist framework, while the second challenges the current social and economic compromises. These two ways of approaching capitalism and public action lead to two outcomes in terms of access to public arenas. These results in a hegemony of social business globally with the media and international institutions, and an invisibilisation or an attempt to control citizen initiatives by local institutions such as public authorities. Our research shows the mechanisms by which these two models are either exposed, or framed and even disqualified, respectively, according to their response to the public problems they face. The notion of social innovation is ambivalent. Within the research field regarding the social and solidarity economy in particular, social innovation describes the product of certain practices within often non-state initiatives and the way to analyze them. It is perceived positively by the actors in the field – public authorities in particular – and overall may refer to anything and everything. We chose this notion to analyze the materials collected during this research, and reciprocally, we use our field study to investigate this notion. Social business can be analyzed as producing weak social innovation; this system is based on traditional mechanisms (market, supply and demand, competition, philanthropy). While the citizens’ initiatives studied can read as strong social innovation; they challenge these mechanisms in order to discuss them collectively and openly, and provide a testing ground for democracy both politically and economically.

Source: http://www.theses.fr/2022LORR0024


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