FBK-ISR | The Role of Religion in the History of Innovation Discourses

The sixth event in FBK-ISR’s 2018 series “Religion & Innovation” is dedicated to the exploration of the role of religion in the intellectual history of innovation discourses

Event schedule

Aula Piccola, FBK Sede, FBK-Trento
16:30 — 18:30

Aula Piccola, FBK Sede


With a particular focus on the period of Reformation, Benoît Godin (INRS, Montreal) will analyse how the use and diffusion of the term “innovation” in religious contexts has influenced contemporary innovation discourses. Prof Godin is a leading scholar of the intellectual history of innovation discourses and advocates a critical approach to the study of innovation.

The talk is open to the public and will be held in English.

Abstract della talk di Benoît Godin, “The Spirit of Innovation”
Today, innovation is an injunction. Everyone should innovate. Innovation is also a panacea. It is discussed ad nauseam in utilitarian terms. Where does the concept come from? The historiography of innovation attributes the scholarly origin and study of the concept to the economist Joseph Schumpeter.
This is mythic history or rationalization. Schumpeter simply used a concept that was becoming popular, as many others did in the first half of the twentieth century. This talk offers a different story. It discusses a key moment in the use and diffusion of the term: the Reformation. As an injunction (not to innovate), the concept served to enforce conformity. The talk will unearth the spirit of innovation that was so feared at the time of the Reformation. In addition, the talk will show that residues of past connotations continue to define our contemporary notion of innovation.


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