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Knowledge production and social inquiry
Editors: and

This book makes the case for a pragmatist approach to the practice of social inquiry and knowledge production. Through diverse examples from multiple disciplines, contributors explore the power of pragmatism to inform a practice of inquiry that is democratic, community-centred, problem-oriented and experimental. Drawing from both classical and neo-pragmatist perspectives, the book advances a pragmatist sensibility in which truth and knowledge are contingent rather than universal, made rather than found, provisional rather than dogmatic, subject to continuous experimentation rather than ultimate proof and verified in their application in action rather than in the accuracy of their representation of an antecedent reality. The power of pragmatism offers a path forward for mobilizing the practice of inquiry in social research, exploring the implications of pragmatism for the process of knowledge production.

Etienne Brasil and Brazilian engagement with Armenia, 1912–22
Heitor Loureiro

small and distant country like Armenia seem relevant in Brazil in the 1910s and 1920s, Brasil and his allies deployed a combination of pragmatism and humanitarianism to convince wider society and political decision-makers that supporting the Armenian cause would be in their mutual interest. In the aftermath of the Genocide their aims were partially realised as, under the leadership of Epitácio Pessoa, the Brazilian government began use the Armenian cause as a means of strengthening Brazilian participation and leadership into global governance at the League of Nations

in Aid to Armenia
Clive Barnett

Whenever a dispute is serious, we ought to be able to show some practical difference that must follow from one side or the other being right. William James, Pragmatism: A new name for some old ways of thinking The uses of Pragmatism The essays in The power of pragmatism draw on the canon of first-generation Pragmatist thinkers, primarily John Dewey, alongside William James and George Herbert Mead, as well as on Richard Rorty’s more recent iconoclastic anti-representational pragmatist revivalism. One might ask, however, in what respects the

in The power of pragmatism
Going beyond a communicative approach 
Ihnji Jon

not expect or envision a specific type of future. Its concern, rather, is on the contextual experience of ‘what to do’ in the here and now. What planners have in mind is a set of practices and orientation, not one eventual end point. This chapter argues that pragmatism has much to offer contemporary planning theory and practice and in what follows I discuss the influence of pragmatism on contemporary planning thought and introduce a new reading of pragmatist planning that can enhance theory and practice in future. Contemporary planning theory has been dominated by

in The power of pragmatism
Nehru’s preference for a partitioned India but a federal Palestine
P. R. Kumaraswamy

While the acceptance of a communal partition in the Indian subcontinent was a collective majority decision of the Congress Party, Jawaharlal Nehru (Prime Minister of the Interim government from September 1946 and of free India from 15 August 1947) was the architect of the federal plan for Palestine. His approach towards colonial situations and partition as a possible solution to communal problems in India and Palestine highlighted his dichotomy between pragmatism necessitated by the politico-territorial immediacy of the Indian condition and

in The breakup of India and Palestine
An interview with Eamonn McKee
Graham Spencer

This chapter highlights the value of pragmatism in a peace process and how the contentious areas of parading and policing and justice were managed. The chapter also looks at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and the role of pragmatism in dealing with these complex and conflicting areas.

in Inside Accounts, Volume II
Leeds Jewish tailors and Leeds Jewish tailoring trade unions, 1876–1915
Anne J. Kershen

came together in 1915 to provide an example of unity in an interdenominational national union. It was a template not emulated by the majority of Jewish tailoring workers in London, where only the members of the London Jewish Tailors’ and Tailoresses’ Union affiliated to the new clothing workers’ union. The chapter will seek to determine whether the trade unionism manifested by the Leeds Jewish tailoring workers was borne out of ideological conviction or economic pragmatism. Finally, it will evaluate the factors that led to the successful organisation of the Leeds

in Leeds and its Jewish Community
Kuba Szreder

Radical pragmatists talk the talk while walking the walk. They are radical, because they look for radixes, the roots of the problem at hand, identifying the structural causes of their own plight. But in contrast to armchair revolutionaries, they are not afraid of getting their hands dirty. They vouch for a non-moralistic approach, to deal pragmatically with the challenges identified. But their pragmatism is informed by the radical deconstruction of the entrepreneurial self, confronting the → neoliberal hegemony that underpins it. And they

in The ABC of the projectariat
Jeremy Tranmer

8 The decline of revolutionary pragmatism and the splintering of British communism in the 1980s Jeremy Tranmer Introduction The 1980s were a particularly difficult period for the British labour movement. Its political wing, the Labour Party, experienced a series of electoral reversals, while trade unions suffered significant industrial defeats. The labour movement as a whole faced falling membership. It was also a time of severe divisions. The internal ructions of the Labour Party in the 1980s have been well documented, but parties and groups to its left were

in Labour united and divided from the 1830s to the present
James Baldwin’s Pragmatist Politics in The Fire Next Time
Courtney D Ferriter

In The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin argues that the American dream is far from being a reality in part because there is much Americans do not wish to know about themselves. Given the current political climate in the United States, this idea seems just as timely as it did in the 1960s. Baldwin’s politics and thinking about race and religion are informed by an optimistic belief in the human capacity to love and change for the better, in contrast with Ta-Nehisi Coates, the heir apparent to Baldwin’s legacy. Considering current events, it seems particularly useful to turn back to The Fire Next Time. Not only does Baldwin provide a foundation for understanding racism in the United States, but more importantly, he provides some much-needed hope and guidance for the future. Baldwin discusses democracy as an act that must be realized, in part by coming to a greater understanding of race and religion as performative acts that have political consequences for all Americans. In this article, I examine the influence of pragmatism on Baldwin’s understanding of race and religion. By encouraging readers to acknowledge race and religion as political constructs, Baldwin highlights the inseparability of theory and practice that is a hallmark of both pragmatism and the realization of a democratic society. Furthermore, I argue that Baldwin’s politics provide a more useful framework than Coates’s for this particular historical moment because of Baldwin’s emphasis on change and evolving democracy.

James Baldwin Review