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Innovation discontinuities 
Cornelius Schubert (TU Dortmund)
Tiago Brandão (NOVA FCSH)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Innovation is often conceived as a universal solution for transformative change. We seek to question this problem-solution package from a Critical Studies of Innovation perspective. We call for studies of discontinuities in innovation practices or policies and how they vary in societal fields.

Long Abstract:

The panel seeks to question the dominant pro-innovation bias within many government and research funding policies from a Critical Studies of Innovation perspective. Critical Studies of Innovation challenge innovation narratives and myths while at the same time offering alternative approaches and concepts. We are interested in contributions from diverse fields of research, e.g. on regional or urban transformations, innovation in (higher) education, sustainability, digitalization, mobility, migration, energy, or evaluation studies in general related to innovation programmes, policies and/or grassroots initiatives, including historical studies. We especially welcome contributions from the global south.

The main aim is to address discontinuities and unanticipated consequences of innovation practices and policies that emerge from transformative processes of change. For instance: How are innovation policies or theories from the global north imitated and implemented by actors from the global south? How far can innovation practices be adapted to local particularities, and how do they differ from dominant pro-innovation logics, i.e. the values, mindsets and motivations behind political authorities and other stakeholders, and how do they impact institutions, normative practices, and policy narratives? How does the urge to scale local innovations impede their creative and disruptive potential? How are the so-called international ‘best practices’ adapted to local circumstances?

We ask these questions bearing in mind that many STS scholars are embedded in transformative projects, that they are part and parcel of the transformation processes they study and that they are likely to play an important role in negotiating the diverse interests of different stakeholders from civil society, the economy, science, and politics. We call for contributions that take a critical position to innovation narratives and practices within their respective fields of research, and that will try to elaborate on alternative approaches or concepts to understand the delicate relations of innovation, governance, and the current transformative aspirations.

Accepted papers:

Session 1
Session 2
Session 3