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Reflections on Phronetic Social Science: A Dialogue between Stewart Clegg, Bent Flyvbjerg, and Mark Haugaard

Journal of Political Power, June 2014

64 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2014 Last revised: 8 Jul 2014

Bent Flyvbjerg

University of Oxford - Said Business School

Stewart R. Clegg

University of Technology, Sydney - School of Management; New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics

Mark Haugaard

National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG)

Date Written: June 1, 2014

Abstract

Clegg, Flyvbjerg and Haugaard debate the strengths and weaknesses of a Foucauldian-Nietzschean critique of power compared to a tradition exemplified by Lukes and Habermas. Flyvbjerg and Clegg argue that the pursuit of universal normative principles and of rationality without power may lead to oppressive utopian thinking. Drawing on the Aristotelian tradition of phronesis, they propose a contextualist form of critique that situates itself in analysis of local practices to render domination transparent and open to change. While Haugaard accepts there cannot be a universal view that transcends the particularities of context, he argues that the phronetic approach is crypto-normative because it implicitly presupposes unacknowledged liberal normative premises; moreover, any use of ‘truth’ as a criterion follows Enlightenment principles of verification.

Keywords: phronesis, power, truth, domination, critique

Suggested Citation

Flyvbjerg, Bent and Clegg, Stewart R. and Haugaard, Mark, Reflections on Phronetic Social Science: A Dialogue between Stewart Clegg, Bent Flyvbjerg, and Mark Haugaard (June 1, 2014). Journal of Political Power, June 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2460651

Bent Flyvbjerg (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

Stewart R. Clegg

University of Technology, Sydney - School of Management ( email )

Room C401A
Corner Quay Street & Ultimo Road
Sydney 2007, New South Wales
Australia
9514 3934 (Phone)
9514 3602 (Fax)

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisbon, 1099-032
Portugal

Mark Haugaard

National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) ( email )

University Road
Galway, Co. Kildare
Ireland

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