Recent Publication: Opportunity or responsibility? Tracing co-creation in the European policy discourse


In their recent article “Opportunity or responsibility? Tracing co-creation in the European policy discourse”, Anja Ruess, Ruth Müller and Sebastian Pfotenhauer examine the discursive uptake of co-creation in European research and innovation policy documents.

As the authors show, the EU tends to foreground alleged economic benefits of co-creation over questions of equity and social justice. Constructing co-creation through economic value propositions gives rise to a new figure of the citizen that is consistently conflated with consumers and users. Through a rhetoric of empowerment, the discourse emphasizes the seemingly equal engagement opportunities co-creation would offer, thus blurring the line between self-motivated opportunity and democratic legitimacy.

So what is at stake for democracies, as policymakers increasingly endorse co-creation? As Ruess, Müller and Pfotenhauer highlight, there is a trade-off between “the possibility of altering innovation following democratic principles and the danger of altering democracy following innovation principles”. “Facilitating the former and impeding the latter require authentic commitment to procedural requirements for co-creation oriented towards equity and social justice.”

This article is based on research conducted as part of the EU Horizon 2020 research initiative SCALINGS, which was generously funded by the European Union under grant agreement no. 788359. The full article is available here.

 Rueß, Anja K.

Technische Universität München

School of Social Sciences and Technology

Department of Science, Technology and Society

Augustenstr. 46, 80333 München

Room: 357

Phone: +49 (0) 89 289 29221




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