The interrelationship between rural, rurality and social innovation still remains underexplored even though there has been considerable work within the individual discourses of social innovation and rural studies. This paper aims at broadening the scope of this interrelationship by exploring the nuanced dynamics and complexities of rural lifeworld and the experiences and knowledges of actors that shape the understanding of rural social innovation. At the core of this analysis lies two key ideas including a) an understanding that rural groups' and communities' complexities and marginalities might not be adequately understood without addressing the complex ways in which identities of caste, race, gender, ethnicity and class intersect and b) that the locally-rooted solutions resulting from these concerns are usually underrepresented in the social innovation literature and the relevance of the same needs to be recognized. This reimagining of rural social innovation is located within the theoretical perspectives of intersectionality and feminist perspective and the epistemologies of the South focusing on ‘ecologies of knowledges’ that are capable of complexifying and adding to the contemporary debates on social innovation. From an understanding of the above, the authors argue that strategies and innovations grounded on the specific groups' and communities' own knowledge and rhythm within complex rural contexts needs be recognized as social innovation.
- Feminist epistemology
- People-centered social innovation
- Rural social innovation