chapter  10
Neo-Pragmatist Planning Theory
ByCharles Hoch
Pages 12

This chapter provides an overview of the re-emergence of pragmatist ideas among planning theorists from the 1980s through 2015. It covers five contributions that neo-pragmatist ideas brought to planning theory debates among scholars primarily in North America: power, fact–value dichotomy, problem solving, incrementalism and structure agency. The chapter explores some of the cross-fertilization of pragmatist ideas with European postmodern and post-structural social theory. The concept of a progressive movement that historians later coined to describe the many reform efforts owes some of its intellectual legitimacy to the early pragmatist ideas linking social action and knowledge with democratic participation. Instead of casting theory as a conceptual foundation for planning practice, pragmatists imagine theory as a different kind of deliberative social practice. Problem setting and solving for the pragmatist contribute to the quality of rational judgments used to anticipate and prepare for the future in specific ways.