An Extended Social Grid Model for the Study of Marginalization Processes and Social Innovation

Nicholls, Alex and Ziegler, Rafael (2017) An Extended Social Grid Model for the Study of Marginalization Processes and Social Innovation. CRESSI Working Paper.

PDF (Working Paper)
Download (698kB) | Preview


The Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation (CRESSI) project focuses on one over-arching research objective: to develop a novel theoretical framework better to understand the economic underpinnings of marginalization and social innovation in the European Union. Specifically, this project will inform future EU policy making in two ways: by means of a detailed analysis of how socio-economic structures marginalize vulnerable populations; by means of an exploration of the potential role of social innovation as an institutional change phenomenon to address such structures. An important conceptual component is drawn from the work of Jens Beckert and his Social Grid Model (2010). This research develops an Extended Social Grid Model that allows CRESSI to explore the structural issues that cause and reproduce marginalization. However, it needs to be stressed at the outset that the intention of this model – and the wider framework within which it sits – is to provide a mode of thinking to inform subsequent analysis and policy development rather than to represent a thorough commentary on individual thinkers and their schools of thought. The Social Grid model and the wider CRESSI framework operate, therefore, as theoretical orientations for the project as a whole: as a result, the exposition here is only the first of what are likely to be several iterations as the project develops.

Extending this model, CRESSI suggests that a social grid, at the macro-level or social-environmental level of structures, is enacted via contingent sources of power to affect (positively or negatively) the individual’s ability to realize her own capabilities. Finally, the model allows social innovation to be seen as a set of processes and interventions that can disruptively and incrementally alter one or more of the three social forces within a particular social grid, the dynamics across the social forces and, potentially, the power sources that structure it in a given historical context to reduce the marginalization of certain populations. Moreover, this may also include processes that empower the marginalized to become change agents (or institutional entrepreneurs) in terms of the forces and structures that cause their own marginalization.

This paper explores Beckert’s model and extends it drawing on two other key sets of theories around power (Michael Mann) and capabilities (Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum) that constitute the overall analytic framework for CRESSI and which are discussed in more detailed elsewhere in the CRESSI project. Where appropriate we reference ideas from CRESSI working papers so as to point to further discussion as well as some of the inspirations and ideas for this extended social grid models.

Item Type: Other Working Paper
Keywords: Social Innovation, marginalization
Subject(s): Innovation
Social entrepreneurship
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2016 12:54
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2018 16:03
Funders: European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 613261

View statistics

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View