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Complexity theory and planning: Methodological insights

Chettiparamb Rajan, Angelique 2005. Complexity theory and planning: Methodological insights. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

The main research question that the thesis addresses is 'what is the relevance of complexity theory for planning'. Having set out to examine a theoretical question, the thesis is guided by the nature of theory development. The realm of generalised discourse, theory contextualisation and empirical examination are thus addressed. The argument starts from an understanding of the nature of complexity theory as it emerges from within the natural sciences. The philosophical grounds of the theory and the way in which complexity theory might relate to the social realm are then discussed. Planning is conceptualised in specific ways and the relevance for second order planning is advanced. The use of complexity theory in the non-quantitative stream within planning is discussed leading to the formulation of a methodology for theory transfer derived from the theory of metaphors. Two concepts for theory transfer and contextualisation are chosen on methodological grounds ---fractals and autopoiesis. The chapter on fractals uses the methodology derived and advances a causal claim for use in the second level of planning defined and argued for earlier empirically demonstrated by re-conceptualising a case-study--- the People's Planning Campaign of Kerala, India. The chapters on autopoiesis focus on the use of concepts from autopoiesis to raise separate sets of questions for planning illustrated by discussing secondary case studies. Instances of ways in which answers might be found to these questions in actual planning practice is then discussed through re-interpreting the case study. In summary, the thesis advances an argument for the relevance of complexity theory for planning and sees this relevance as a contribution to methodological issues that arise from a systemic conception for planning in the second level, foregrounding society such that planning as an activity is undertaken by society leading to an ordering emerging out of local specificity and detail.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
ISBN: 9781303166068
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:09
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/55567

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