4: Regulating for ‘care-ful’ knowledge production: researching older people, isolation and loneliness

This chapter tells the story of a research project that aimed to develop more equitable and inclusive ‘regulatory systems’ around the production of knowledge concerning the isolation and loneliness of older people. As such, this is a chapter about regulation in, and of, research programmes that is intended to highlight the way in which ‘top-down’ regulation, embedded in university ethical processes, funder requirements, and forms of accountability around research, create particular relations between universities and publics. This chapter draws attention to alternative regulatory systems for knowledge production emerging from a co-produced research process that draws particularly on feminist concerns centred on an ethic of care. The chapter labels this ‘care-ful’ research. In order to explore these alternative regulatory systems, the chapter examines how we ‘care-fully’ co-produced regulatory structures during research with older people around an increasingly ‘publicly’ discussed issue of the loneliness of older people.

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