Riccardo Guidi

In search of consensus and stability. Notes on an innovation through participation project in Italian local welfare

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Participation; Innovation; Local Welfare; Consensus; Stability.

The political processes of contemporary European welfare systems are significantly characterized by the growing importance of local scale and citizens' participation. At least since 2000, Italian welfare system has been crowded by local participatory experiments that have involved citizens, thid sector organizations, experts, social workers, public managers and politicians. The article critically examines an innovation through participation project carried out by a Municipality in Central Italy in 2012-2013. It involved citizens, thid sector organizations, social workers, public sector managers and politicians with the aim to innovate local welfare services. Methods include in-depth interviews, participant observation, focus-groups. The article mainly focuses on the obstacles to the local institutional entrepreneurship and on the resources successfully mobilized to overcome them. According to the collected results, consensus-building and stabilization of innovation seem the main obstacles. The first one seems to be easier to overcome than the second one. How to upscale and stabilize social innovation in times of crisis and austerity seems to be a «dilemma» on which scholars are expected to work further through wider research programs.

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