Pragmatism and contemporary planning theory 
Going beyond a communicative approach 
in The power of pragmatism
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This chapter makes the case for pragmatist philosophy in planning theory and practice. I argue that pragmatism can help us to understand trends in contemporary planning theory, as well as develop a more promising future direction. The chapter introduces the two major branches of contemporary planning theory: (1) communicative planning and (2) radical planning. I explore how pragmatic planning can go beyond some of the limits of communicative approaches while also embracing the insights of radical planning. Emphasising early pragmatists’ emphasis on lived experience and the importance of pluralism, the chapter argues that pragmatism can connect different ideas in contemporary planning theory with great potential for practice, improving outcomes for publics.

The power of pragmatism

Knowledge production and social inquiry

Editors: Jane Wills and Robert W. Lake


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