is co-production a good concept? three responses

Catherine Durose, Beth Perry, Liz Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Co-production refers to a reciprocal process of exchange between diverse stakeholders, in order to generate outcomes that are only possible because of this deliberate intersection of difference. Whilst the concept of co-production appeals within and for futures studies, foresight and anticipatory politics, its conceptual messiness has been widely critiqued. Drawing upon an integrative literature review of co-production and concept formation in the social sciences, we identify three approaches that scholars of co-production have sought to mobilise in order to address this critique. Each approach offers a different perspective on what makes a ‘good’ social scientific concept: clarification, elucidation and provocation. Our analysis illuminates the value of holding different approaches to conceptualisation in tension, as a means of developing a richer and more contingent understanding of co-production to future studies’ debates. In doing so, we open up new conceptual imaginaries for co-production and its prefigurative value within futures studies, offering more pluralistic ways of knowing in a context of radical uncertainty

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


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