The current global trend of rising populism, emerging from a divisive anti-politics and anti-establishment narrative, has reinforced political, economic and cultural resentments and has catalysed exclusionary practices targeting already vulnerable groups. Within this context of narrowing space for civic participation and the growing propagation of misinformation towards political ends, co-production – as an approach to generating knowledge for social change – has much to contribute to struggles for equity and democracy. The chapter considers two cases of knowledge co-production from the WIEGO network – an exploratory participatory action research effort with a national organisation of waste pickers in Brazil, and a transnational action research study involving informal workers’ organisations in ten cities. We explore the potential of knowledge co-production as both a democratic research innovation and a political strategy, to build new knowledge, capacities and resistance from the grassroots.
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