The concept of the Anthropocene as a game-changer: a new context for social innovation and transformations to sustainability
After tracing the antecedents of the concept and considering its intersection in social innovation research, we put forward the argument that the Anthropocene concept points to three areas of thought that are strategically imperative and must be accelerated if social innovation theory and practice is to prove transformative and respond to the challenges associated with the Anthropocene.
First, we contend that the current debate on social innovation for sustainability lacks a deeper focus on human-environmental interactions and the related feedbacks, which will be necessary to understand and achieve large-scale change and transformations to global sustainability. Many innovations focus on only the social or the ecological, and we believe a more integrated approach will be needed moving forward. Second, social innovation research must confront the path-dependencies embedded within systems, and we propose that the act of “bricolage,” which recombines existing elements in novel ways, will be essential, rather than single variable solutions, which currently dominate social innovation discussions. Finally, we put forward the idea that confronting the cross-scalar nature of the Anthropocene requires revisiting both the scope and temporal nature of social innovations that are most typically focused upon by scholars and funders alike.
We believe the concept of the Anthropocene creates new opportunities for social innovation scholars to imagine new possibilities.
Research news | 2021-04-15
What a “safe and just” future for people and planet means
Leading social and natural scientists present an approach to define a “safe and just corridor" while addressing the limits of our planet
Research news | 2021-04-14
Exploring a sense of belonging and care
Vanessa Masterson reflects on why learning more about people’s attachment to places can bring about important change
Research news | 2021-04-12
Watch the Nobel Prize Summit science sessions
As part of the Nobel Prize Summit Our Planet, Our Future, two digital academic science sessions will be held 27-28 April. Watch them here
Research news | 2021-04-12
Six targets for a sustainable textile industry
Combining circular economy and planetary boundaries can pave the way for a sustainable transformation of the fashion industry
Research news | 2021-04-11
Uncovering the “who” and the “what” in sustainability
Centre researcher Andrea Downing on what it takes to achieve fair and just futures
Research news | 2021-04-01
Ensuring a thriving ocean economy for everyone
Webinar on the rapidly developing scientific and policy attention associated to the ocean. Watch it here