The marginalised rural communities are characterised by societal challenges, such as isolation, lack of job opportunities, land abandonment, low quality of life and generally low education. Social Innovation (SI) initiatives may represent an opportunity to strengthen relationships among the members of rural community, by means of the alteration of the existing social networks. In this way, more exchange of information is expected, paving the way for the creation of professional collaborations among firms and other actors. This paper aims at proposing a short-term evaluation framework of effectiveness of a SI initiative in terms of reconfiguration of the social network structure. The described empirical case study is VàZapp’, a rural hub located in Southern Italy, which provides innovative solutions to activate social relations amongst farmers, altering hence their network. A wellreferenced SI theoretical model, developed within the H2020 project SIMRA (Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas), and the methodology of Social Network Analysis (SNA) were used to verify and measure quantitative and qualitative indicators affected by network intervention activated by VàZapp’ initiative. Results show that this SI initiative worked effectively, leading to a +308% in the number of relations and +250% in social network density. In addition, an evident improvement in the quality of the social relations was found, especially in cases where there are direct engagements within VàZapp’. Outcomes suggest that supporting and promoting SI initiatives could become a central discussion point for the rethinking of rural development policies focused on regeneration of social relations’ structure.

Network impact of social innovation initiatives in marginalised rural communities

Lombardi M.
;
Lopolito A.;Andriano A. M.;Prosperi M.;Stasi A.;Iannuzzi E.
2020-01-01

Abstract

The marginalised rural communities are characterised by societal challenges, such as isolation, lack of job opportunities, land abandonment, low quality of life and generally low education. Social Innovation (SI) initiatives may represent an opportunity to strengthen relationships among the members of rural community, by means of the alteration of the existing social networks. In this way, more exchange of information is expected, paving the way for the creation of professional collaborations among firms and other actors. This paper aims at proposing a short-term evaluation framework of effectiveness of a SI initiative in terms of reconfiguration of the social network structure. The described empirical case study is VàZapp’, a rural hub located in Southern Italy, which provides innovative solutions to activate social relations amongst farmers, altering hence their network. A wellreferenced SI theoretical model, developed within the H2020 project SIMRA (Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas), and the methodology of Social Network Analysis (SNA) were used to verify and measure quantitative and qualitative indicators affected by network intervention activated by VàZapp’ initiative. Results show that this SI initiative worked effectively, leading to a +308% in the number of relations and +250% in social network density. In addition, an evident improvement in the quality of the social relations was found, especially in cases where there are direct engagements within VàZapp’. Outcomes suggest that supporting and promoting SI initiatives could become a central discussion point for the rethinking of rural development policies focused on regeneration of social relations’ structure.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11369/386336
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