New paper on the value of international partnerships for co-producing just cities
This paper provides a distinctive analysis of the value of international intermediation alliances for co-production, based on the way they operate in practice. While much attention is paid to ideal or normative models of co-production, there is less understanding of the complexities that pervade co-production practices in specific contexts or how this shapes outcomes. Despite longstanding critiques and reflection, international partnerships can reinforce unequal power dynamics embedded in already unequal global research and knowledge production circuits. However, such partnerships, despite their structural problems, can also give rise to more informal relations wherein the long-term value of international co-production inheres. We call for a re-examination of these complex sets of informal relations, beyond the structures of partnerships, that enable co-production across local and global divides. Drawing on comparative international evidence, we propose a framework for understanding and action based on the concepts of alliances, allyship and activism. These three characteristics of international co-production partnerships can constitute socio-material infrastructures that help maintain relationships of solidarity and care over time beyond the remit of individual projects. While this is relevant in any co-production context it becomes particularly important in international research projects so that they do not paradoxically reproduce colonising structures of knowledge production in the search for more just cities.
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