Translocal Empowerment in Transformative Social Innovation Networks

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* Article: Translocal empowerment in transformative social innovation networks. By Flor Avelino, Adina Dumitru, Carla Cipolla, Iris Kunze & Julia Wittmayer. European Planning Studies, February 2019

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"This paper contributes to both public and academic discussions on empowerment potentials of innovations by responding to three specific gaps in the state-of-the-art research, namely (1) the role of psychological processes and (2) translocal linkages in empowerment, and – more specifically – (3) the connection between those two in terms of how translocal linkages are (psychologically) empowering."


"This paper contributes to public and academic discussions on empowerment and social innovation by conceptualizing the mechanisms of empowerment from a social psychology perspective, and empirically exploring how people are empowered through both local and transnational linkages, i.e. translocal networks.

Section 2 conceptualizes empowerment as the process through which actors gain the capacity to mobilize resources to achieve a goal, building on different power theories in relation to social change, combined with self-determination theory and intrinsic motivation research. Based on that conceptualization, empirical questions are formulated to be asked about cases under study.

Section 3 then provides an empirical analysis of translocal networks that work with social innovation both at the global and local level. A total of five networks are analyzed: FEBEA, DESIS, the Global Ecovillage Network, Impact Hub and Slow Food. The embedded cases-study approach allows an exploration of how people are empowered through the transnational networking while also zooming in on the dynamics in local initiatives. In the final section, conceptual and empirical insights are synthesized into a characterization of the mechanisms of translocal empowerment, and challenges for future research are formulated."