The Rise of the Hybrid Domain: Collaborative Governance for Social Innovation.

AuthorAoyama, Yuko
PositionBook review

The Rise of the Hybrid Domain: Collaborative Governance for Social Innovation, by Yuko Aoyama with Balaji Parthasarathy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016. Pp. 232.

It is imperative for policymakers to strike a judicious balance between economic growth and social well-being. Simple as it may sound, it is a difficult goal to achieve. Contemporary market mechanisms have recently developed anomalies, evident at times of financial and economic crises. At the same time, social policies have not been able to ameliorate economic inequality, poverty and inadequate availability of basic services. In such circumstances, market driven solutions or social policies alone may have limited impact. But what could happen if these two approaches form linkages and collaborate? In this context, the authors of this book have proposed a novel concept of "hybrid domain". Going beyond the distinct categorization between the state and markets, the concept of hybrid domain refers to a middle area between the two, "a newly emerging domain that overlaps public and private interests" (p. 2). The authors refer to the agents in this model as "stakeholders" rather than "shareholders"--a swelling "middle" between the public and the private domains. In doing so, they challenge the dual understanding of economic governance in terms of the state versus the market. It is argued that a unified conceptual framework rather than singular state, market or grassroots-approach will help to understand the complex interactions between the hybrid entities and generate social innovations. These social innovations often fill a certain delivery gap and may have far-reaching impact on the lives of the poor (this model is nicely captured in a figure provided on p. 5). Since India is a hotbed for such social innovations, the authors turn their gaze towards the country to test this model.

The concept of hybrid domain is corroborated through a number of case stuthes related to: health; agriculture; rural development; livelihoods in the informal sector; and renewable energy. One such innovation can be seen in the case of a social experiment that provides health services to remote areas through effective use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and entrenched medical networks in India. Known as the "Telemedicine Programme", it provides for local franchisees who act as intermediaries between patients (usually in remote areas) and centrally located doctors based in urban...

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