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A critical reading of the European Union’s social innovation policy

Fougère, Martin, Segercrantz, Beata and Seeck, Hannele ORCID: 0000-0001-6209-651X (2017) A critical reading of the European Union’s social innovation policy. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2015 (1). ISSN 0065-0668

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Identification Number: 10.5465/AMBPP.2015.108


In this paper we conduct a critical reading of the European Union’s social innovation (EUSI) policy discourse. We argue that social innovation has become a prominent element of European policy discourses and can be seen as a key component in an emerging hegemonic project. We therefore engage in a problematization of EUSI policy. Inspired by a governmentality perspective and Howarth’s framework for critical policy studies (2010) we examine the social, political, ideological, ethical and economic logics in three EUSI policy documents. Our contribution lies in (1) our problematization and critical study of social innovation policy discourse in the EU context; and (2) our expansion of Howarth’s framework with two additional logics that are at play in policy discourse: ethical logics and economic logics. The distinction between ideological and ethical logics helps us to expose how EUSI discourse is meant to grip subjects through both the fantasmatic promise of a win-win-win and the ethical injunction of responsibilization. The addition of economic logics helps us to reflect on the further incorporation of the social into the economy, as the economic valuation of social and environmental impacts becomes a key part of the vision for the future of the EU.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 Academy of Management
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2015 16:08
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2024 23:12

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