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Revitalising the political: Development control and Agonism in Planning Practice

McClymont, Katie



This article argues for a new way of valuing development control planning practices in a democratic society: as agonistic political engagement. Using Chantal Mouffe's conception of the political, it counters claims that collaborative and consensus seeking approaches are of higher value than conflicts over site-specific development. 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, legitimate arenas for the expression of different opinions are needed, without resolution and agreement being the endpoint of discussion. Examples are drawn from discussion in a public inquiry on how meanings assigned to planning policy and the built environment can be part of this agonistic debate. They form the elements building up contradictory arguments about what is 'appropriate' or 'good' for a specific place. The mechanisms of development control provide a legitimate forum for these arguments to be articulated, without consensus or agreement as the ultimate goal. © The Author(s) 2011.


McClymont, K. (2011). Revitalising the political: Development control and Agonism in Planning Practice. Planning Theory, 10(3), 239-256.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 1, 2011
Journal Planning Theory
Print ISSN 1473-0952
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 3
Pages 239-256
Keywords development management, dissensus, agonism, Mouffe, consensus
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Published online before print: 14th March, 2011


Development Control as agonistic planning practice FINAL.doc (113 Kb)

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