Social Innovation and Democratic Leadership: Communities Making Social Change from Below

M. Parés, S. M. Ospina, and J. Subirats
Northampton, Mass.: Edward Elgar, 2017.

While liberal-representative democracies tend to conform to a consensus-based post-political paradigm where there is no space for alternatives and dissensus, new forms of democracy in practice are emerging from below. This book explores new socially innovative initiatives that have appeared following the 2011 global uprisings. Initiatives that flourish not only as alternative responses to current social needs but also as new forms of democracy, a democracy that comes from below, by and for the ‘have-nots’.

Combining theories of social innovation and collective leadership, this book analyzes how disadvantaged communities have addressed the effects of economic recession in two global cities: Barcelona and New York. It draws upon several socially innovative initiatives in four neighbourhoods, and offers new knowledge, ideas and tools, both to better understand how social needs could be effectively and democratically satisfied, and to foster social change initiatives at the community level. Civic capacity and democratic leadership practices emerge as crucial factors to make social change happen.

The book advances both theoretical and empirical understandings of social change and will appeal to scholars in urban studies, geography, leadership studies, political science and sociology. It will also be of interest to practitioners, policy makers and leaders in social organizations, as it provides ideas and tools to help foster social change.

To download chapter 4, "Democratic leadership: the work of leadership for social change," please click on the "View/download article" link above.

Social Innovation and Democratic Leadership book cover
Wagner Faculty