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The role of ideology in grassroots innovation: An application of the arenas of development framework to organic in Europe
Ecological Economics  (IF5.389),  Pub Date : 2021-10-13, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107252
Cécile Sillig

Grassroots Innovation is a typology of innovation that develops in civil society and is driven by social and ideological concerns. This paper focuses on the strategies of resistance developed by Grassroots movements in response to capture and mainstreaming processes and on the role that ideology has in the evolution of Grassroots Innovation.

The study refers to the Arenas of Development framework. The adoption of a flat ontology allows to overcome the dichotomy between niche and regime and the focus on market breakthrough. It permits to consider social and political issues, and interactions between different arenas with different perspectives. The notion of actor-world used to define arenas' focus and boundaries allows to stress the role of ideology in evolutionary pathways.

The analysis is based on a case study on Organic in Europe, that leads to consider three different arenas: the Grassroots arena, the EU Common Agricultural Policy arena, and the Global retail/agrifood arena. The arenas approach Organic with different lenses, interact and co-evolve. The recent ideological repositioning of the Grassroots arena brought it to the development of a strategy of resistance based on alliances with other arenas of civil society and on both confrontation and separateness with the other Organic arenas.