Planning and Foucault: In Search of the Dark Side of Planning Theory

Philip Allmendinger and Mark Tewdwr-Jones, eds., Planning Futures: New Directions for Planning Theory, London and New York: Routledge, 2002, pp. 44-62

28 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2013 Last revised: 25 Jun 2013

See all articles by Bent Flyvbjerg

Bent Flyvbjerg

University of Oxford - Said Business School

Tim Richardson

University of Sheffield

Date Written: 2002

Abstract

In this paper we argue that the use of the communicative theory of Jürgen Habermas in planning theory is problematic because it hampers an understanding of how power shapes planning. We posit an alternative approach based on the power analytics of Michel Foucault, which focuses on ‘what is actually done’, as opposed to Habermas’s focus on ‘what should be done’. We discuss how the Foucauldian stance is problematic to planning; asking difficult questions about the treatment of legitimacy, rationality, knowledge, and spatiality. We conclude that Foucault offers a type of analytic planning theory that offers better prospects than does Habermas for those interested in understanding and bringing about democratic social change through planning.

Suggested Citation

Flyvbjerg, Bent and Richardson, Tim, Planning and Foucault: In Search of the Dark Side of Planning Theory (2002). Philip Allmendinger and Mark Tewdwr-Jones, eds., Planning Futures: New Directions for Planning Theory, London and New York: Routledge, 2002, pp. 44-62. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2278389

Bent Flyvbjerg (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

Tim Richardson

University of Sheffield ( email )

17 Mappin Street
Sheffield, Sheffield S1 4DT
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
938
rank
23,124
Abstract Views
3,013
PlumX Metrics