3. Toward a Theory of Social Innovation in Higher Education

by Benjamin Selznick (Author) Seán McCarthy (Author)
22 Pages
Open Access
Journal: PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY IN HIGHER EDUCATION Volume 2 Issue 3 Year 2020 pp. 49 - 70


A necessary response to addressing complex global problems rests in the theoretic and practice of social innovation: approaches to solving intractable social issues on a local and global scale. The logic, language, and practices of social innovation can, in turn, motivate energies toward conceptualizing college students as social innovators: individuals capable of meaningfully and cooperatively responding to persistent and transdisciplinary problems including social inequities, environmental change, and public health crises. To provide a philosophical anchor needed to ultimately sustain these propositions, we unite social innovation with Honneth’s concept of social freedom. We then introduce an expanded definition of the prototype as a mechanism that can be utilized to embed social innovation and social freedom throughout the contemporary collegiate academic curriculum. The subsequent section considers students in two interdependent forms of relation—student-student and student-faculty—within the dynamic context of postsecondary learning. We conclude by incorporating our ideas around an imagined possibility for securing social freedom amidst present ecological fragility and provide long-range considerations of our theory for the higher education enterprise.

Biographical notes

Benjamin Selznick (Author) Seán McCarthy (Author)


Title: 3. Toward a Theory of Social Innovation in Higher Education