Revitalising the political: Development Control and agonism in planning practice

McClymont, K. (2011) Revitalising the political: Development Control and agonism in planning practice. Planning Theory, 10 (3). 239 -256. ISSN 1473-0952 Available from:

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This paper argues for a new way of valuing development control planning practices in a democratic society: as agonistic political engagement. It counters claims that collaborative and consensus seeking approaches are of higher value than conflicts over site specific developments, by use of Chantal Mouffe’s idea of the political. In this, the idea of true consensus is an impossibility as some viewpoint has to be excluded from any agreement. Moreover, for democracy to exist, different opinions need to have legitimate arenas in which to be expressed, without the endpoint of discussion being resolution and agreement. Drawing on discussion from a public inquiry, examples are given of how meanings assigned to planning policy and the built environment can be part of this agonistic debate. They form the elements which build up contradictory arguments about what is ‘appropriate’ or ‘good’ for a specific place. The mechanisms of development control provide a legitimate forum for these to be articulated, without consensus or agreement as a goal.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Published online before print: 14th March, 2011
Uncontrolled Keywords:development management, dissensus, agonism, Mouffe, consensus
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Environment and Technology > Department of Geography and Environmental Management
ID Code:17626
Deposited By: Dr K. McClymont
Deposited On:02 Nov 2012 16:20
Last Modified:20 Sep 2016 00:50

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