SWP, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (the German Institute for International and Security Affairs)
Social Innovation in non-democratic regimes – relations between state and society in the social innovation process in Russia
In her PhD thesis, Julia Ostanina investigates the process of social innovation in Russia focusing on the interactions between state and society as its main actors. The main focus of research is on digital crowdsourcing platforms that facilitate people’s involvement into the discussion and solution finding for different problems, ranging from the urban infrastructure to fighting corruption. Moreover, the technology creates an indirect channel of horizontal and vertical communication and generates more transparency in the state-society relations. The platforms under investigation are being managed by independent activists in different places in Russia, thus the exertion of influence by the state is limited as compared to the situation with the NGO sector. The main research question of this explorative study is how digital social innovation changes forms and quality of interaction between state and civil society. The study will be located on the micro level (municipalities) and present two cases from eachof the following cities Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Irkutsk. Using the multiple case study method, the PhD thesis will empirically address the unexamined field of digital social innovation practices and its implications in Russia and contribute to a better understanding of the specifics of the social innovation process in non-democratic regimes.