Resisting social innovation: the case of neighborhood health centers in Belgium

Resistencia a la innovación social: el caso de los centros de salud en los barrios de Bélgica

  • Tuur Ghys Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon
Keywords: Social innovation, opposition, healthcare, poverty, diffusion.

Abstract

The role played by powerful social groups in opposing or even halting the diffusion of social innovation is insufficiently studied regarding modern time social innovations. This is especially relevant in cases aimed at meeting social groups with few resources, such as people in poverty. This paper examines this in the case of Neighborhood Healthcare Centers in Belgium, a social innovation with potential to offer accessible care to less resourceful inhabitants. It documents how these organizations made an effort to expand but were met with sustained resistance of doctors’ associations and political opponents. It concludes that the inherent merits of social innovations which benefit vulnerable groups are insufficient to warrant their diffusion, as initiatives might run against the interests of more powerful groups.

 

Resumen

El papel que desempeñan los grupos sociales poderosos para oponerse o incluso detener la difusión de la innovación social no está suficientemente estudiado en relación con las innovaciones sociales modernas. Esto es especialmente relevante en los casos de encuentro con grupos sociales de escasos recursos, como las personas en situación de pobreza. Este artículo examina esta situación en el caso de los Centros Vecinales de Salud en Bélgica, una innovación social con potencial para ofrecer atención accesible a los habitantes con menos recursos. El artículo documenta cómo estas organizaciones hicieron un esfuerzo por expandirse, pero se encontraron con una resistencia por parte de las asociaciones de médicos y opositores políticos. El texto concluye que los méritos inherentes de las innovaciones sociales que benefician a los grupos vulnerables son insuficientes para justificar su difusión, ya que las iniciativas podrían ir en contra de los intereses de los grupos más poderosos.

Palabras clave: innovación social, oposición; salud, pobreza, difusión.

 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31637/epsir.20-2.2

References

Alcock, P. (2005). ‘Maximum Feasible Understanding’ – Lessons from Previous Wars on Poverty. Social Policy and Society, 4(3), 321-329. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1474746405002472

Boelman, V., Kwam, A., Lauritzen, J., Millard, J. & Schon, R. (2014). Growing Social Innovation: A Guide for Policy Makers. Brussels: European Commission, DG Research. http://www.transitsocialinnovation.eu/resource-hub/growing-social-innovation--a-guide-for-policy-makers

Brandsen, T. (2014). Wilco Final Report. http://www.wilcoproject.eu/wilco-project-findings-summary/

Coene, J. (2019). Armoede en sociale uitsluiting ontcijferd. In J. Coene, P. Raeymaeckers, B. Hubeau, S. Marchal, R. Remmen & A. Van Haarlem (eds.), Armoede en Sociale uitsluiting – jaarboek 2019 (pp. 361-443). Leuven: Acco.https://www.uantwerpen.be/images/uantwerpen/container34686/files/Jaarboek%20Armoede%202019_WEB3.pdf

Cools, P. & Oosterlynck, S. (2015). Domo vzw Leuven: Family support by volunteers. ImPRovE case study 9. Antwerp: Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy. http://improve-research.eu/?page_id=2507

Davies, A. (2014). Spreading Social Innovations: A Case Study Report. TEPSIE report. Brussels: European Commission, DG Research. https://youngfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Spreading-Social-Innovations-A-Case-Study-Report.pdf

de Maeseneer, J., de Roo, L. & Willems, S. (2012). Wijkgezondheidscentra in Vlaanderen. In D. Dierckx, S. Oosterlynck, J. Coene & Van Haarlem, A. (eds.), Armoede en Sociale uitsluiting - Jaarboek 2012 (pp. 5-261). Leuven: Acco.https://www.uantwerpen.be/images/uantwerpen/container2456/files/Projecten/Jaarboek/2012%20Jaarboek%20armoede%20en%20sociale%20uitsluiting.pdf

Gabriel, M. (2014). Making it big. Strategies for scaling social innovation. London: NESTA.

Gans, H. (1995). The war against the poor. New York: BasicBooks.

Gazet van Antwerpen (2004, June 1). Wijkgezondheidscentrum laat nog wel flinke poos op zich wachten. Gazet van Antwerpen/Waasland, p. 17.

Ghys, T. (2016). Sociale Innovatie en Structurele Armoedebestrijding [Doctoral dissertation, University of Antwerp]. Antwerpen: OASeS. https://www.uantwerpen.be/images/uantwerpen/container2456/files/Tuur%20Ghys%20doctoraat%20-%20Sociale%20innovatie%20en%20structurele%20armoedebestrijding.pdf

Ghys, T. (2018). Analysing social innovation through the lens of poverty reduction: five key factors. European Public & Social Innovation Review, 2(2), 1-14. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31637/epsir.17-2.1

Ghys, T. & Oosterlynck, S. (2017). Sociale innovaties bekeken vanuit structurele armoedebestrijding: case Wijkgezondheidscentra [Working paper]. Antwerpen: Vlaams Armoedesteunpunt. https://www.uantwerpen.be/images/uantwerpen/container2456/files/VLAS_Rapport%20WGC.pdf

Green, M. & Hulme, D. (2005). From Correlates and Characteristics to Causes: Thinking About Poverty from a Chronic Poverty Perspective. World Development, 33(6), 867–879. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2004.09.013

Heiskala, R. (2007). Social Innovations: Structural and Power Perspectives. In T. J. Hamalainen & R. Heiskala (eds.), Social Innovations, Institutional Change and Economic Performance (pp. 52-80). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Hölsgens, R. (2016). On the importance of power struggles in the diffusion of social innovations. The case of women suffrage in the Netherlands. European Public Social & Social Innovation Review, 1(2), 63-72. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31637/epsir.16-2.1

Jordan, B. (1996). A theory of poverty and social exclusion. Cambridge: Polity Press.

KCE (2008). Vergelijking van kost en kwaliteit van twee financieringssystemen voor de eerstelijnszorg in België. KCE Reports 85A. https://kce.fgov.be/sites/default/files/page_documents/d20081027349_0.pdf

Leubolt, B. & W., Romão (2017). Socio-Ecological Innovation in Brazil: The Collective Survival Strategy of the Collectors of Recyclable Material. Journal für Entwicklungspolitik, 33(2), 36-57. DOI: https://doi.org/10.20446/jep-2414-3197-33-2-36

Martinelli, F. (2012). Social Innovation or Social Exclusion? Innovating Social Services in the Context of a Retrenching Welfare State. In Franz, H.W., Hochgerner, J. & Howaldt, J. (eds.), Challenge Social Innovation (pp. 169-180). New York: Springer.

Mathijssen, C. (2010). Armoedebestrijding op het platteland. Op zoek naar knelpunten en uitwegen. Rapport van literatuuronderzoek, interviews en rondetafel. CERA.

Moulaert, F., Martinelli, F., Swyngedouw, E. & González, S. (2005). Towards Alternative Model(s) of Local Innovation. Urban Studies, 42(11), 1969-1990. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00420980500279893

Mumford, M. (2002). Social Innovation: Ten Cases from Benjamin Franklin. Creativity Research Journal, 14(2), 253-266. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1207/S15326934CRJ1402_11

Novy, A. & Leubolt, B. (2005). Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre: Social Innovation and the Dialectical Relationship of State and Civil Society. Urban Studies, 42(11), 2023-2036. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00420980500279828

Oosterlynck, S., Novy, A., Kazepov, Y., Verschraegen, G., Saruis, T., Colombo, F., Cools, P., Cucca, R., Leubolt, B. & Weinzierl, C. (2016). Towards a more effective governance of socially innovative policies – First insights from the case studies [ImPRovE Working Paper 16/11]. Antwerp: Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy. http://improve-research.eu/?page_id=37

Pinch, T. J. & Bijker, W. E. (1984). The social construction of facts and artefacts: or how the sociology of science and the sociology of technology might benefit each other. Social Studies of Science, 14(3), 399–441. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/030631284014003004

Polanyi, K. (1968). The Great Transformation. The political and economic origins of our time. Boston: Beacon Press.

Royce, E. (2015). Poverty and power. The problem of structural inequality. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

Rubin, H. J. & Rubin, I. S. (2005). Qualitative interviewing. The art of hearing data. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Inc.

Simon, J., Schon, R., Kitcher, H., Millard, J., Carpenter, G. & Ingermann, A. (2014). Growing the field of social innovation in Europe. TEPSIE Report. Brussels: European Commission, DG Research. https://youngfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/YOFJ2786_Growing_Social_Innovation_16.01.15_WEB.pdf

Sinclair, S. & Baglioni, S. (2014). Social Innovation and Social Policy. Promises and Risks. Social Policy & Society, 13(3), 469–476. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1474746414000086

Tilley, J. (2014). Toegankelijkheid van de huisartspraktijk: is de drempel ook letterlijk laag? Gent: Universiteit Gent.

Townsend, P. (2010). The meaning of poverty. The British Journal of Sociology, 61(s1), 85-102. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-4446.2009.01241.x

Van Garderen, F. (2016, October 21). Wijkgezondheidscentra: 'De scalpel blijkt toch een bijl'. De Morgen, 5.

Vrancken, J. (2001). Unraveling the social strands of poverty: differentiation, fragmentation, inequality, and exclusion. In Andersen, H.T., & Van Kempen, H.T. (eds.), Governing European Cities (pp. 71-91). Aldershot: Ashgate.

Westly, F. & Antadze, N. (2009). Making a difference. Strategies for scaling social innovation for greater impact. The innovation journal: the public sector innovation journal, 15(2), 1-19.

Willems, S. (2005). The socio-economic gradient in health: a never-ending story? A descriptive and explorative study in Belgium. Gent: Universiteit Gent. https://lib.ugent.be/fulltxt/RUG01/000/922/283/RUG01-000922283_2010_0001_AC.pdf

Published
2020-12-30
How to Cite
Ghys, T. (2020). Resisting social innovation: the case of neighborhood health centers in Belgium . European Public & Social Innovation Review, 5(2), 14-26. Retrieved from https://pub.sinnergiak.org/esir/article/view/114
Section
Research articles