Practices: Alternative social innovations in a rentier


  • Beatriz Itzel Cruz Megchun University of Portland


social innovation, place-making, practice, city as a category of practice


The work discusses another variant, place-making practices, of social innovation processes in a rentier state. We aim to document alternative processes that conceptualize different forms of participation and human agency. We want to provide a different discourse where it prevails in individuals’ representations of their complex system of symbols, rules, and codifications of living in the city. Thus, we provide a theoretical framework of the city under capitalism to introduce place, space, and practice later. We introduce Wachsmuth’s (2014) postulation of the city as a “category of practice” to document one representation of urban processes via alternative visualizations in the Emirate of Sharjah. We use a case study approach to record the complexity of happenings in place-making and its relation to social innovation processes. Results exhibit that social innovations and place-making /practices processes encompass collective and collaborative actions of a specific social group toward satisfying a social need. However, the latter differs in the intentions, actions, and outcomes, as individuals concentrate on intervening places to deal with their longing for home while creating a sense of belonging through a series of rituals in an urban context. This work provides an opportunity to advance the understanding of social innovations in other contexts while offering frameworks that honor immigrants’ culture and social realm and thus bring into being other worlds. Thus, we require epistemological approaches, theoretical frameworks, and dialectic character that offer an alternative to prevent exclusionary conceptualizations of participation.




How to Cite

Cruz Megchun, B. I. (2023). Practices: Alternative social innovations in a rentier . DISCERN: International Journal of Design for Social Change, Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 4(1), 27–43. Retrieved from