This book offers a sociological overview of the theories and research on economic innovation. Over the past few decades, the economics of innovation has given rise to a lively flow of studies, and innovation studies continues to develop as an interdisciplinary field of research. Sociology in general, and economic sociology in particular, have already made a significant contribution to innovation and continue to play a crucial role in this emerging field.
This book presents an integrated sociological approach to the study of economic innovation. It explores the key theories and sociological research on innovation, as well as other contributions to the field of Innovation Studies from economists, geographers, and psychologists. Ramella argues that in order to understand the processes of innovation, it is necessary to look at the actors of innovation, at the relations that exist between them and at the sectoral and territorial contexts in which they operate. For students, this book includes international case studies throughout, as well as further study questions at the end of each chapter.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Innovation Studies. 1. Innovation and Social Change 2. Inventors and Creativity 3. The Sociology of Economic Inventions 4. The Small Worlds of Creativity and Innovation 5. Innovation Systems 6. The Geography of Innovation 7. Innovation and Local Development
Francesco Ramella is Professor of Economic Sociology at the University of Torino, Italy. He is also Editor in Chief of the scientific journal Stato e Mercato and member of the editorial boards of Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy and South European Society & Politics. He has carried out research on innovation, local development and political cultures.
"This is the first comprehensive work on the sociology of innovation. It's an original contribution that shows the importance of social relations in the process of invention and innovation. Ramella provides an extremely useful tool for students and scholars from other disciplines that are interested in the sociological view of innovation."
—Professor Carlo Trigilia, University of Florence, Italy
"Francesco Ramella’s book is an important and original contribution which helps to clarify how innovation emerges, pointing to its social and territorial embeddedness."
—Professor Arnaldo Bagnasco, University of Turin, Italy
"Sociology of Economic Innovation by Francesco Ramella offers a timely and innovative account of how economic innovation takes place. It shows what sociological analysis at its best can do when applied to understanding economic phenomena, while at the same time relying on an impressive amount of work from other disciplines. The analysis of the actors of innovation, of their relations and of the contexts in which they operate is supported by robust theoretical and conceptual frameworks and represents a very important contribution to our understanding of this key phenomenon. Ramella’s book lucidly and insightfully fills in a longstanding gap in our knowledge of economic innovation and promises to change our thinking about it, thus renewing the best tradition of the "Italian school" of economic sociology. It will be of great interest to social scientists as well as to students and policy-makers."
—Professor Marino Regini, University of Milan, Italy
"Francesco Ramella’s Sociology of Economic Innovation is set to become a classic text. He navigates with ease among national political economy, evolutionary economics, economic geography, sociology of science and technology, and of course economic sociology, to discuss with stunning clarity different conceptualizations of research about economic innovation. No miracle receipt here, but the systematic analysis of networks, systemic interactions, learning processes, scales, sectors, firms and territories, to understand the dynamics of capitalist innovation. From the Triple Helix to creative accumulation (Schumpeter Mark II), from the Danish innovation system to start-ups in Silicon Valley, this book shows the varieties of combinations supporting innovation."
—Professor Patrick Le Galès, Centre d’études européennes de Sciences Po, France