1: Introduction: From the regulation of engagement to regulating for engagement

This introductory chapter sets out concerns with the current state of theories and practice in regulation. It identifies a fundamental problem of regulatory practice, which turns more and more inward-looking, shutting out the expertise of citizens who experience the effects of regulatory systems. It was this gap that led to the five-year research programme, ‘Productive Margins: Regulating for Engagement’, which led to this book. The chapter then presents a brief outline of the book, exploring both the methodology of co-production and citizens’ experiences of a number of substantive fields of regulatory practice in order that one can begin to see and know regulatory systems differently. Finally, the chapter sets the scene for explorations in regulating for engagement by illustrating some of the ways in which regulation is discussed — or not — in everyday life by drawing on interviews with participants in the research programme.

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