Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Co-Production and the Politics of Usable Knowledge for Climate Adaptation in Tanzania Public Deposited
  • The concept of ‘co-production’ is increasingly offered as an approach to enable more responsive and inclusive processes of knowledge production across a range of disciplines. While it is recognized that uneven power relations play a significant role in shaping co-production processes, how these dynamics affect, and are affected by, intentional efforts to ‘co-produce’ usable knowledge is not well understood. In this dissertation, I examine the multiple ways in which power is exercised within efforts to ‘co-produce knowledge’ for climate adaptation decision-making in Tanzania, and with what effect. I do so through a multi-scalar mixed methods case study. To begin, I conduct a systematic literature review to illustrate the lack of conceptual clarity around the term co-production and argue that there is a need to distinguish between ‘strong constitutive’, ‘strong interactional’, and ‘weak interactional’ interpretations of the term. Then, I present results from a survey examining the production, circulation, and use of climate knowledge across institutional scales in Tanzania. I find that existing landscapes of climate knowledge are complex, with both formal and informal pathways for knowledge production and circulation playing an important role. Next, I conduct a modified Actor-Network analysis to understand the ‘constitutive’ dimensions of co-production. I find that current efforts to co-produce climate knowledge in Tanzania rely on stable science-society configurations in which there is a clear demarcation between ‘producers’ and ‘users’ of knowledge. This may have the unintended effect of delimiting the full participation of some actors within instrumental co-production efforts. Finally, using a critical application of the Knowledge System Criteria (KSC) framework (credibility, salience, legitimacy), I examine the politics involved in the production of ‘usable’ knowledge. I find that how actors relate to and employ these criteria within instrumental co-production efforts represents a political move that can reinforce existing power differentials. In sum, I find that uncritical usages of the concept of co-production may contribute to the very problems they are intended to solve. These findings are offered as part of an effort toward developing more critical, yet integrative and productive, understandings of co-production.
Date Issued
  • 2016
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Last Modified
  • 2019-11-16
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