Bringing Power to Planning Research: One Researcher's Praxis Story
Journal of Planning Education and Research, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 353-366, 2002.
15 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2013 Last revised: 4 Oct 2013
Date Written: June 1, 2002
This article provides an answer to what has been called the biggest problem in theorizing and understanding planning: the ambivalence about power found among planning researchers, theorists, and students. The author narrates how he came to work with issues of power and gives an example of how the methodology he developed for power studies — phronetic planning research — may be employed in practice. Phronetic planning research follows the tradition of power studies running from Machiavelli and Nietzsche to Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu. It focuses on four value-rational questions: (1) Where are we going with planning? (2) Who gains and who loses, and by which mechanisms of power? (3) Is this development desirable? (4) What should be done? These questions are exemplified for a specific instance of Scandinavian urban planning. The author finds that the questions, and their answers, make a difference to planning in practice. They make planning research matter.
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