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PhD defence by Jens Dorland

Transformative Social Innovation Theory: Spaces & Places for Social Change


08.03.2019 kl. 13.00 - 16.00


The developed world is facing numerous challenges to the modern welfare state related to issues like justice, poverty, environmental preservation, climate change, improved health, social exclusion, aging demographics, and gentrification. This dissertation investigated how spaces enabling social innovation processes locally can be facilitated, arguing that there is a need to study the internal organizing efforts in social innovation networks to understand how to build local agency. The dissertations build on a study of 20 social innovation networks working to address some of these challenges conducted in the TRANSIT project. The findings are presented in a tripartite discussion of 1) the materiality of translocal interaction and empowerment that illustrates how different types of resources and empowerment depends on specific objects and material forms, 2) macro-actors and staging, which in relation to SI networks is first and foremost about creating a context where the process of creating a network and developing their SI can take place, and 3) network configurations that scale out horizontally from local-to-local without any central organizing, or vertical scaling up where SI networks try to impact other macro-actors like public authorities and societal institutions. The discussion thus lays the foundation for a framework to understand and facilitate the type of organizing and social innovation I have studied.


Professor Dominique Vinck | Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Professor Andrea Vargui | Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sassari, Italy

Associate Professor Søren Kerndrup (Chairman) | Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark


Associate Professor Michael Søgaard Jørgensen | Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark


Professor Emeritus Christian Clausen | Department of Planning, Aalborg University,


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Department of Planning, Aalborg University


A. C. Meyers Vænge 15, 2450 Copenhagen SV

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05.03.2019 kl. 12.00

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