The philosophy of praxis : a study of radical planning, past and future directions
Grundy, Kerry James
This thesis is concerned with the theory and practice of planning in Western capitalist societies. Specifically, it examines the tradition of radical planning within the context of conventional planning theory. Its objectives are to evaluate the historical influence of radical planning thought on conventional planning theory and practice, and secondly to assess the relevance of radical planning to contemporary (and future) capitalist societies. This is accomplished firstly through an analysis of the history of radical planning thought, particularly the theories of a small number of influential planning theorists from the turn of the nineteenth century up until the present. The contemporary relevance of radical planning is examined by critically evaluating Friedmann's theory of transformative planning and by offering an alternative theory based upon a Marxist critique of capitalism and Gramscian transition theory. The normative theory is presented as practice in the form of a critique of the resource management legislation in New Zealand undertaken by the author in the course of his Ph.D. studies. In this way theory is linked to practice and the dialectic between theory and practice made explicit. The thesis evaluates three propositions: 1. That radical planning thought, although often obscured, possesses a rich history and has had a profound and lasting influence on modern planning theory and practice. 2. That radical planning theory has a positive role to play in contemporary (and future) planning aimed at the transformation of the capitalist mode of production. 3. That this theory can be applied to a practice of radical planning that can contribute to a progressive challenge to the dominant capitalist hegemony. It is concluded that all three propositions can be answered in the affirmative. Radical planning thought does possess a fertile history and has had a significant influence on modern planning theory and practice since its inception at the close of the nineteenth century. Although its existence has gone largely unacknowledged by orthodox planning its presence indicates that historically there has always been resistance to the exploitation of capitalist class society and a search for a better, more sustainable mode of production. Secondly, radical planning theory can have a positive role in contemporary and future planning. There is a legitimate rationale, founded upon a Marxist critique of capitalism, for adopting a radical approach to planning (a theory for planning). In addition, Gramscian transition theory provides a strong conceptual basis for a theory of radical planning, a methodology of radical planning practice. Lastly, this theory can be applied to a practice of radical planning that may contribute to a progressive challenge to capitalist hegemony. Whether this challenge escalates into fundamental socio-economic change remains to be seen. Radical planners can, however, continue the tradition of earlier proponents of radical change and search for alternatives to the exploitation of human and non-human nature inherent to the capitalist mode of production.
Advisor: Holland, Peter
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Geography
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis