The trouble with coproduction

Authored by: Nick Watson

The Routledge Handbook of Service User Involvement in Human Services Research and Education

Print publication date:  August  2020
Online publication date:  August  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138360143
eBook ISBN: 9780429433306
Adobe ISBN:


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There is no doubting that coproduction has led to some significant successes and that it has changed the mode of both research production and the design and delivery of our public services. It is not, however, a trouble-free area, and there are some concerns about the approach that are worthy of consideration. This chapter addresses some of these concerns. The aim of this chapter is not to debunk coproduction or to argue that it is an inappropriate methodology, but rather to point out some of the concerns and weaknesses of the approach. If people are aware of these, then action can be taken to modify them. The chapter opens with a brief overview, mapping out the emergence of coproduction and how it has become one of the driving ideas for the emancipation of disabled people. It reconstructs the concepts that have underpinned this approach and in doing so seeks to shed light on some of the challenges faced today. The chapter draws heavily on the work of Nancy Fraser, Simon Winlow and Steve Hall and argues that the changing world economy and responses to the economic collapse present new challenges to coproduction and its role in tackling disablement and promoting social justice.

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