From Garbage in the Streets to Organizers’ OpportunitiesNavigating the Institutional Pragmatics of Democratic Inter-Subjectivity

Authored by: John Forester

The Routledge Handbook of Institutions and Planning in Action

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138085732
eBook ISBN: 9781315111230
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter demonstrates a discourse analytic approach to show how—and not just that—institutionalist analyses in social science presuppose accounts of pragmatic actions that are not simply strategic but are elements of ongoing learning. We see that institutions can take shape and have influence formally and informally; we see that pragmatism includes practices making differences that reach far beyond argumentative debate oriented to truth or falsity. More significantly still, this chapter argues that a rich agonistic view of ineradicable conflict must account not only for conflicting intentions, perspectives, and identities, but also for practical interactions through which disputants press claims and achieve results, producing tangible consequences rather than sincerely oppositional aspirations.

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