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A sociological institutionalist approach to the study of innovation in governance capacity

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sara Gonzalez, Emeritus Professor Patsy Healey OBE


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This paper draws on institutionalist approaches as developed in the fields of policy analysis and planning, to develop a methodological approach for assessing how the governance capacity for socially innovative action might emerge. After introducing the problematic of the search for governance relations which have the capacity for social innovation, the second and third parts of the paper summarise the emerging social-constructivist 'institutionalist' approach in policy analysis and planning. The fourth part draws on a three-level analytical model of governance dynamics to explore the dynamics and dialectics of urban governance transformation processes, illustrated with a case study of a socially innovative area-based initiative. The final section considers the power dynamics of episodes of socially innovative governance arising from within civil society and their potential to transform wider governance processes and cultures. © 2005 The Editors of Urban Studies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gonzalez S, Healey P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Urban Studies

Year: 2005

Volume: 42

Issue: 11

Pages: 2055-2069

ISSN (print): 0042-0980

ISSN (electronic): 1360-063X

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1080/00420980500279778


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