In between academic and democratic institutions, cross-cutting collectives engage in 'co-creation': they collaboratively create shared problematics of politics and research. The panel discusses how co-creation is transforming or perpetuating legitimacy crises in academia and democracy.
While the legitimacy of academic and democratic institutions is crumbling, cross-cutting collectives engage in what can be coined as 'co-creation': they collaboratively create shared problematics of politics and research. Does co-creation represent a countervailing force against legitimacy crises in democracy and academia? This panel discusses the mutual structuration of co-creation and legitimacy, while accounting symmetrically for promises and pitfalls. Co-creation is a risky endeavor. On the one hand, when elected politicians are discredited, or when expert knowledge is questioned, collaborative encounters may represent a double remedy: a chance to legitimize academic and democratic institutions, and to forge collaborative arenas. Methodical trade-offs remain: Which co-creative practices to endorse in order to gain legitimacy? On the other hand, the practice of explicating tacit expectations expedites the assignment of legitimacy between citizens, politicians and scholars. This can further mutual distrust or sideline democratic forms of legitimization. Hence, pre-existing legitimacy crises reflect back on co-creative endeavors. This amounts to a double crisis of legitimacy, and raises a dilemma: When mutual trust between civic, political or academic actors is crumbling, on which grounds can they collectively stand-in for the legitimacy of co-creation? Affecting preexisting institutions and boundary-spanning collectives, the promises and pitfalls of co-creation finally challenge the STS community along symmetric lines: academic and political legitimacies can be criticized, explored or reconfigured together with the legitimacies of public engagement. This panel invites scholars and practitioners to practically, analytically and politically engage with the co-creation of legitimacy and the legitimacy of co-creation.