Innovation from a discursive perspective: Discourses and accountability in pig farming policies.

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    Innovation is rarely considered a point of contention. It invariably seems to denote some type of intrinsically desired newness most ordinarily associated with effective commercialization of a new technology, idea or organizational form. However, once considering innovation as something happening within a network or ‘system’ of interdependent actors, it becomes clear that different interpretations and appropriations of innovation are co-evolving in a competitive framework. Although we fully acknowledge the importance of collective learning processes as a basis to overcome barriers for innovation in networks we nevertheless wish to caution for an approach that insufficiently conceptualizes the role of power. To gain insight in how more inclusive innovation processes can be built we evaluate how farmer’s interests can be articulated and how innovation networks be held accountable to ensure fair representation of farmers. Based on political theory we propose a framework anchored in deliberative democratic theory, an approach which attributes significant transformative power to deliberation in decision making. We elaborate
    an approach based on the concept of discursive accountability (Dryzek, 2010), in which representation is related to a procedure guaranteeing a maximum of relevant discourses to be articulated within collective decision outcomes of governance networks. We substantiate our approach by drawing on a case-study of pig farming in Flanders. A discourse analysis reveals how discursive
    framings of farmers reflect an ongoing tension between the linear and the participatory discourse on innovation. We complement this analysis with an assessment of the collective outcomes of a series of empowered dialogue days in the Flemish pig sector (2011). Reasoned from the perspective of discursive accountability we elicit a disproportionate consistency with the existing
    constellation of discourses in the public sphere.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIFSA Conference proceedings
    Number of pages15
    Publication date2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    Event11th European IFSA Symposium - Berlijn, Germany
    Duration: 1-Apr-20144-Apr-2014

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