Language games, planning and politics: Language games, planning and politics

Raine Mäntysalo, Kaj Nyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


We have been struck by the observation that language in ordinary everyday situations seems to be largely about organising future cooperation – language is planning. The article examines the possibility that planning as a professional activity would not be basically different from the planning that goes on in the use of language in arranging everyday life. This could open up a novel approach to developing a philosophy of planning proper as an alternative to the customary approach, which leans heavily on political philosophy. The language philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein has been helpful in expounding such thinking about planning, especially when regarding the language games proposed by Wittgenstein as a vast collection of plans for coping with aspects of everyday life. We propose that planning understood as language games could be of use when conceptualizing public planning practice. Such a planning philosophy would not overlook the political dimension of planning, but it would make clear that a distinctive planning approach to the political is to be found.
Translated title of the contributionLanguage games, planning and politics
Original languageFinnish
Pages (from-to)34-51
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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