Co-production: fostering greater inclusion or reproducing existing exclusion? An analysis of co-commissioning and resident participation on a South London housing estate

Alexander, James (2021) Co-production: fostering greater inclusion or reproducing existing exclusion? An analysis of co-commissioning and resident participation on a South London housing estate. SN Social Sciences, 1 (56). pp. 1-19. ISSN 2662-9283

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s43545-021-00058-0

Abstract / Description

In many neoliberal economies, co-production is an increasingly popular way of generating public value, empowering citizens, and innovating public service delivery, and cuts to public sector budgets have seen it becoming more important as cash strapped public bodies strip back their services. However, its effectiveness as a means of inclusive engagement is unclear. This paper uses Bourdieu’s theory of practice to explore ethnographic data relating to the collaborative commissioning of a youth project on a South London housing estate and understand how effective the activities were at empowering people to take action. The study shows that although co-production has the potential to increase local involvement; the habitus of those with greater political, economic, and professional capital shaped the social space in which participation takes place. This habitus shaped how people should engage, causing some to disengage, limiting what outcomes were possible. Co-productive practices, such as the co-commissioning discussed in this paper, contain the promise of greater participation and empowerment. However, a lack of understanding of the power dynamics between those involved means the processes can be hierarchical and restricting, rather than increasing the participation of those whom such initiatives are meant to empower.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: neighbourhood; Bourdieu, Pierre, 1930-2002; ethnography; youth crime; co-production; exclusion
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 360 Social problems & services; associations
Department: School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: James Alexander
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2021 12:05
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2021 12:05
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/6347

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