Rational-comprehensive planning - whether so-named or not - has been
(and is?) the central core/mainstay/pillar of planning. Such
centrality lies, at least in part, within the common understanding of
planning as discipline and profession, in particular, as(because) it
emerges within the context of the western-scientific (modernist)
cultural paradigm where rationality and comprehensiveness reign
supreme. What happens if we let go of this ideal of rational
comprehensiveness? Does this mean advocating an ideal of
irrational narrowness? Or is there something else - a synthesis
rather than an antithesis, in dialectic thinking? Letting go or
rational comprehensiveness is something even I, in my advocacy of
serendipitous planning and rhizomatic thinking and my critique of
dominating power/knowledge, find a challenge to comprehend.
Surely when planning, being rational and being comprehensive are
desirable qualities - the reason for arguing for something else is
because these are impossible ideals, necessitating a way to
achieve/deal with/arrive at the most reasonable alternative.
Surely it is about recognizing the resistance of reality, not about
actually taking a-rational a-comprehensiveness as the ideal. Yet
the latter is exactly what I am talking about. I am
proposing that the notion of rational and comprehensive as ideals is a
social construction that is/should be contested; that it may carry no
more weight than alternatives. The notion reflects the modernist
tradition, which erupted as a contrast to the dominant religious
god-knows-all-and-we-know-god paradigm; it arose as a means for
disrupting, secularising and broadening power/knowledge. I
propose - and by no means am alone in doing so, in fact, am doing so by
grasping at understanding and ideas crafted by others - that it may
again be time for such disrupting, secularising and broadening of
[R2] Being rational is only an ideal within a particular paradigm - one that prioritizes and legitimizes particular types of power/knowledge. Is being reasonable an alternative - a synthesis to the a-rational antithesis? One that might encompass, defend and legitimize broader, more inclusive variations of power/knowledge? Or is reasonable too similar to rational, still smacking of linear logic (is this a bad thing?), a dominant knowledge, prioritizable values...?
[T2] This points to what I see as one of the subtle and powerful influences of this approach, however. Campbell and Fainstein’s (1996: 261) introducing a section on planning theory suggest that “It is useful to begin with comprehensive planning and then see the four other approaches as responses to comprehensiveness.” This seems to be a common habit – to describe ‘other’ approaches as just that, alternatives. Does rational comprehensive planning – through its continued description (even as antithesis) – continue to be viewed as the ideal despite valid critiques against it? Is this appropriate? What plays of power/knowledge are hidden behind such descriptions? ......
manifesting the 'results'