An Archaeology of Silence: A Study of Words and Things That Planners Don't Talk About

Kimmo Lapintie, Mina Di Marino, Hossam Hewidy

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Planning discourses are where issues of common and particular interests are discussed, defined, judged and argued for. In an ideal case, many disciplines and stakeholders, in addition to the planning practitioners, participate in gathering and constructing knowledge that is used in dialogues between them, fostering legitimacy of the political process. However, this normative ideal is confronted with the obvious fact that not everything is discussed or brought to the agenda and, even when they are, are bypassed in a complex process of irrelevance-making, making things ’disappear’.

In this paper, we shall aim at an ’archaeology of silence’ in the sense of giving a voice to these neglected and silenced words and things in planning. The term is naturally derived from Michel Foucault’s Histoire de Folie, but it is here used to address the silence within contemporary planning discourses and their historical background. Instead of simply suggesting normative guidelines for more inclusive planning, we try to figure out how this kind of systematic silence could be understood and what kind of mechanisms are responsible for it, “ignoring no form of discontinuity, break, threshold, or limit” (The Archaeology of Knowledge, p. 34). Thus we discuss contemporary planning practice against the background of the locality and path-dependency of professional thinking.

We shall do this by discussing three formations that have proved out to be particularly problematic: (1) ecology and ecosystem services as a positive/dynamic understanding of urban change, (2) multiculturalism, and (3) multi-locality. All of these are highly relevant in contemporary urbanisation: (i) ecosystem services (regulating, provisioning, supporting and cultural) are potentially endangered in the context of urban growth and density, (ii) growth of immigration challenges implicit references to a uniform culture and biopolitics (planning based on biological features such as age, gender and disability, ignoring cultural differences), and (iii) planning directed at, and contained within, specified geographical areas, is challenged by multi-locality of employment and housing and the increasing role of ICT in working practices, social connections, and the related space-related life-styles, including the virtual. However, in spite of the ‘self-evidence’ of these arguments for relevance, professional discourses often exemplify systematic structures of disregard and neglect that is evident from our analysis. This can only be understood – and potentially changed – by addressing the professional background of discourses on nature, culture and place/space. These in turn are connected to the more general tradition of functionalistic and biopolitical thinking in planning.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2017
EventAESOP Annual Congress: Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity: Fostering the European Dimension of Planning - Lisbon Institute of Technology, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 11 Jul 201714 Jul 2017
Conference number: 30
http://aesop2017.pt/

Conference

ConferenceAESOP Annual Congress
Abbreviated titleAESOP
CountryPortugal
CityLisbon
Period11/07/201714/07/2017
Internet address

Keywords

  • Multi-locality
  • multiculturalism
  • ecosystem
  • planning ambiguity

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'An Archaeology of Silence: A Study of Words and Things That Planners Don't Talk About'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this