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Co-production and the third sector: A comparative study of England and France

Caitlin McMullin

No 578d3, Thesis Commons from Center for Open Science

Abstract: This thesis explores co-production between citizens and third sector professionals in England and France. I focus on five community regeneration organisations in Sheffield, England, and five in Lyon, France, followed by an analysis of comparator organisations in two further sectors of activity – parents’ organisations, and projects to reduce older people’s loneliness. The research is based on 57 semi-structured interviews, as well as event observations and documentary analysis. I employ an analytical framework of institutional logics to explore the ways in which the rules, practices and narratives of the case study organisations are specific to their city and national contexts and how these in turn drive and shape co-production practices. The study finds that while the Sheffield organisations are characterised by an assimilation of the state, community and market logics, the Lyon organisations demonstrate a blend of a ‘Napoleonic state’ logic, and a ‘local solidarity’ (rather than community) logic. These different combinations of logics illuminate two approaches to co-production. In France, co-production is informed by notions of citizenship, solidarity and participative democracy, leading to a greater focus on citizen involvement in organisational governance and greater influence of rules as an enabler and constraint to co-production. In Sheffield, co-production is seen as a way to improve communities, services and outcomes, and we therefore see more pragmatic attention to co-design and co-delivery activities. This thesis provides an important contribution both to co-production theory as well as to policy and practice, by demonstrating some of the cultural and contextual subjectivity of co- production, which has been overlooked in previous studies. In addition, employing institutional theory to study co-production enables me to produce evidence of meso and macro level factors that influence co-production behaviour.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hme
Date: 2018-05-11
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DOI: 10.31219/

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