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Framing the public discourse on social innovation in Italy and the UK
The work investigates the public discourse on social innovation in Italy and the UK addressing two main research questions: How is social innovation framed in the two contexts? Which actors inform the debate?
Despite being still contested at a theoretical level, social innovation has become a fashionable phrase both in academic literature and in public and policy debate (Ayob et al. 2016). At the European level, it has become a key policy idea to simultaneously foster sustainable growth and tackle inequalities and social exclusion (Caulier-Grice et al. 2010, Nicholls and Edmiston 2018). In this context, the dependency of the understanding of social innovation upon framework conditions has been recognized as a crucial point in the social innovation research agenda (Brandsen et al. 2016),
This paper investigates how social innovation is framed in public discourse in the two countries considered and sets out to identify the key institutional entrepreneurs informing the debate.
The paper uses a news framing approach. The analysis of framing investigates how different actors and groups shape the public discourse establishing recurrent labels and informing the debate on a specific topic (Scheufele, Tewksbury 2007). To identify frames, the framing devices or components characterising different frames were identified — i.e. the presence (or absence) of some phrases, images, keywords, metaphors, and sentences, and even the visual images and depictions associated with facts and judgments (Entman 1993, Gamson and Modigliani 1989).
The sample is composed by newspaper articles published between 2009 and 2016 in Italy and the UK. Articles from six newspapers (The Guardian, The Times, Financial Times, Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, and Sole 24 Ore) were retrieved using the Factiva database.
The study recognized two broad frames characterizing social innovation in the articles, outlines the main features of the two frames and discusses them in relation to the different context of the two countries.