Social innovation for sustainability transformation and its diverging development paths in marginalised rural areas

Kluvánková, Tatiana; Nijnik, Maria; Spacek, Martin; Sarkki, Simo; Perlik, Manfred; Lukesch, Robert; Melnykovych, Mariana; Valero, Diana; Brnkal’áková, Stanislavska (2021). Social innovation for sustainability transformation and its diverging development paths in marginalised rural areas. Sociologia ruralis, 61(2), pp. 344-371. Wiley 10.1111/SORU.12337

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Social innovation is perceived as a collaborative response from civic society actors to societal challenges, and as such is increasingly being recognised as a drive to advance sustainable development. Social innovation promotes civic values, particularly in marginalised rural areas that are often struggling with biophysical and market limits, as well as shortages of public funding. In order to identify diverging development paths (DDPs) for social innovation, in this paper we use two large sets of empirical material from the SIMRA research project. Firstly, for meta-analyses of social innovation in diverse situations and contexts we use 211 validated social innovation examples. Secondly, we rely on 11 in-depth cases to reflect on the contexts and dimensions of social innovation. The elaboration of conceptualisation and deductive analyses result in the creation of a typology of social innovation DDPs, with four DDPs identified and explained. The paper provides an improved understanding of how social innovation emerges and develops, and how to capture processes and resulting changes in marginalised rural areas in order to turn such areas’ diversity into strengths. An important conclusion is that social innovation involves both local and external actors, yet cannot develop without specific internal local activity and local knowledge.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Perlik, Manfred Rudolf


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services






[1037] SIMRA - Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas
[804] Socio-Economic Transition




Manfred Rudolf Perlik

Date Deposited:

11 Mar 2021 11:50

Last Modified:

30 May 2021 03:02

Publisher DOI:


Related URLs:

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Social innovation, regional development, mountain development, rural areas, development paths, trajectories




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