Confronting the complexities of “co-production” in participatory health research: a critical, reflexive approach to power dynamics in a collaborative project on Parkinson’s dance

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The literature on participatory health research describes various ways of overcoming obstacles to the co-production of knowledge by redressing power imbalances. In this article, we propose an approach to understanding and analysing co-production which conceptualizes power, not as an obstacle, but as an intrinsic, productive force in bringing “co-production” into being. In the approach, “co-production” is understood and analysed as a tensional, complex, unstable entity that emerges in power-imbued negotiation of meanings throughout the research process. Focusing on a participatory project on Parkinson’s dance, the article’s purpose is to illustrate how the approach can generate knowledge about the complexities of “co-production”. The article also demonstrates how the approach can provide a foundation for a relational ethics that confronts the complexities head-on. In conclusion, we discuss the insights gained into the possibilities and challenges of co-production and the value of the approach as a foundation for relational ethics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Health Research
Pages (from-to)1-36
Number of pages36
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Apr 2021

Cite this