Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Research on Societal Innovation (LiRIS)

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Description succinte


It was in the 19th century that the qualifier “societal” first appeared in the United States, but it did not become widespread in Europe until the early 1970s. Societal implies a broader conception of the social, going beyond the sole analysis of the relationships between individuals within a community and expanding its scope to cover what contributes to their well-being and to everything related to their common interests. Societal innovations can be understood on the basis of citizens’ capacity for initiative to rethink institutional frameworks in order to participate in the experimentation and development of new economic, legal, social and entrepreneurial models, which are more inclusive and supportive, more globalized and more heritage oriented. LiRIS aims to contribute to the theoretical and practical debate on societal innovations through a multi- and inter-disciplinary approach based on a technical and critical analysis of the implementation of alternative models and on an experimental approach to social, economic, legal and entrepreneurial innovations at both the local and international scale.


Research Topics

Through two main research topics: Norms, governance and globalization and Norms, vulnerabilities and solidarities, LiRIS members will play a major role in the analysis of “societal innovations”, in particular by responding to three challenges.

  • Globalization. Contemporary economies and societies and the institutions that govern them are involved in multiple and rapid changes in which their norms, values and principles of governance are being confronted with globalization, with an economic model that some actors challenge and others accept, but not without limitations. In this process, the scales of regulation – local, regional, national and global – are intertwined.
  • Societal. The evolution of the relationship to normativity and the profound changes in institutions (State, family, market, civil society, etc.) have fostered the emergence of new forms of economic and social organization: development of new forms of entrepreneurship, work and project financing, a proliferation of citizen initiatives, development and/or changes in consumption behaviors (especially pro-social behavior). This work also opens up to all the vulnerabilities produced or accentuated by these changes, whatever the causes, physical or intellectual aptitudes or capacities, economic, unequally distributed social or family resources, and which the solidarities seek to correct.
  • Environmental. This challenge is becoming more and more pressing, particularly because of the imperatives of financing climate change. The European Union, with its decarbonization program for 2050, encouraged by the international financial institutions, has mapped out the path towards a carbon-free world which will involve new behaviors linked to the emergence in particular of renewable energies. However, it is one thing to create a new market for responsible finance, but another to encourage consumers, savers and citizens to take an interest in it. These two approaches are inseparable and require the overlapping skills present in LiRIS, whether in management, law or economics and sociology.


Key Figures: 45 lecturer-researchers / 34 PhD students