Bottom-up Initiatives for Societal Change

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Bottom-up initiatives which aim to add value to the public sphere are on the rise and adopt mechanisms of collective action and social entrepreneurship. These initiatives address societal challenges such as climate change, problems in health care, lack of inclusiveness towards migrants, or the transition towards open science. Bottom-up initiatives change institutions and contribute to an open society.

They empower citizens and facilitate the voicing of alternative solutions. As such, bottom-up initiatives potentially contribute to a more open and resilient society.

This platform addresses key issues central in current research into these bottom-up initiatives such as:

  • What type of bottom-up initiatives exist?
  • How do bottom-up initiatives impact existing institutions and contribute to institutional change?
  • How can bottom-up initiatives inspire decision making processes within representative democracy, while avoiding promotion of specific groups’ interests at the expense of others?

Our focus

We aim to study bottom-up initiatives from a variety of theoretical perspectives, including but not limited to

  • micro-level perspectives on the emergence of cooperation, collective action and social and community entrepreneurship,
  • meso-level perspectives on the governance of the commons,
  • macro-level perspectives on the development of ecosystems for bottom-up initiatives, their various stakeholders, and their institutional and geographical context, as well as more normative perspectives on the relation between bottom-up initiatives vis à vis established institutions and the democratic process.

This initiative stems from the previous networks 'Future of Citizen-based Initiatives', 'Social Entrepreneurship Initiative' and 'Institutions, Innovation and Prosperity'.