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Bent Flyvbjerg

Professor, Research Director, Dr. Techn., Dr. Scient., and Ph.D.

Notice: On April 1, 2009, Bent Flyvbjerg moved to University of Oxford. Flyvbjerg's Aalborg website is up to date until the time of his move. After this date, please see his site at Oxford:
www.sbs.oxford.edu/bentflyvbjerg

 

 

Bent Flyvbjerg's Publications on Phronetic Research

 

Main Publications

Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again, Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Abstract : Making Social Science Matter presents a new approach to the social sciences based on a contemporary interpretation of the classical Greek concept phronesis. Instead of trying to emulate the natural sciences and create a kind of general theory, the book argues that the strength of the social sciences lies in their rich, reflexive analysis of values and power, in "phronetic social science." The book details the theory and methodology of phronetic social science and provides hands-on examples of its employment in actual research. The goal is to help establish social science as a practical, intellectual activity aimed at clarifying the possibilities, problems, and risks we face as humans and societies, and at contributing to social and political praxis. To see Table of Contents and to browse the book, click here. To read an excerpt from the book, click here. For a list of reviews of Making Social Science Matter, click here.

Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice. University of Chicago Press, 1998.
Abstract: Rationality and Power is an example of phronetic social science and phronetic planning research at work in an actual study. The book asks and answers the four phronetic questions: (1) Where are we going with democracy and planning? (2) Who gains and who loses, and by which mechanisms of power? (3) Is this development desirable? (4) What, if anything, should we do about it? Based on in-depth case studies and theoretical analysis, the book documents what happens when rational ideas like democracy and planning are implemented into realities ruled by Machiavellian princes and Nietzschean will to power. To see Table of Contents and to browse the book, click here. To read an excerpt from the book, click here. For a list of reviews of Rationality and Power, click here.

"Phronetic Planning Research: Theoretical and Methodological Reflections." Planning Theory and Practice, vol. 5, no. 3, September 2004, pp. 283-306.
Abstract: This article presents the theoretical and methodological considerations behind a research method which the author calls "phronetic planning research." Such research sets out by attempting to answer four questions of power and values for specific instances of planning: (1) Where are we going with planning? (2) Who gains and who loses, and by which mechanisms of power? (3) Is this development desirable? (4) What, if anything, should we do about it? A central task of phronetic planning research is to provide concrete examples and detailed narratives of the ways in which power and values work in planning and with what consequences to whom, and to suggest how relations of power and values could be changed to work with other consequences. Insofar as planning situations become clear, they are clarified by detailed stories of who is doing what to whom. Clarifications of that kind are a principal concern for phronetic planning research and provide the main link to praxis.

"A Perestroikan Straw Man Answers Back: David Laitin and Phronetic Political Science." Politics and Society, vol. 32, no. 3, September 2004, pp. 389-416.
Abstract: This article addresses three main issues. First, it argues that David Laitin, in a misguided critique of Bent Flyvbjerg’s book Making Social Science Matter for being a surrogate manifesto for Perestroika, misrepresents the book in the extreme. Second, the article argues that Laitin’s claim that political science may become normal, predictive science in the natural science sense is unfounded; the claim is a dead end that perestroikans try to get beyond. Finally, the article proposes that political scientists substitute phronesis for episteme and thereby avoid the trap of emulating natural science. By doing so, political scientists may arrive at social science that is strong where natural science is weak: in the reflexive analysis and discussion of values and interests aimed at praxis, which is the prerequisite for an enlightened political, economic, and cultural development in any society.

"Bringing Power to Planning Research: One Researcher's Praxis Story." Journal of Planning Education and Research, vol. 21, no. 4, Summer 2002, pp. 353-366. Keynote paper for the conference Planning Research 2000, London School of Economics and Political Science, 27-29 March 2000; also published in Andy Thornley and Yvonne Rydin, eds. Planning in a Global Era. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002, pp. 117-141.
Abstract : This article provides an answer to what has been called the biggest problem in theorizing and understanding planning, namely the ambivalence about power found among planning researchers, theorists, and students. The author narrates how he came to work with issues of power. He then gives an example of how the methodology he developed for power studies, called "phronetic planning research," may be employed in practice. Phronetic planning research follows the tradition of power studies running from Machiavelli and Nietzsche to Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu. It focuses on four value-rational questions: (1) Where are we going with planning? (2) Who gains and who loses, and by which mechanisms of power? (3) Is this development desirable? (4) What should be done? These questions are exemplified for a specific instance of Scandinavian urban planning. The author finds that the questions, and their answers, make a difference to planning in practice. They make planning research matter.

Other Publications on Phronetic Research by Bent Flyvbjerg

"Making Sociology Matter: Phronetic Sociology as Public Sociology." In Michael Hviid Jacobsen, ed., Public Sociology. Aalborg University Press, 2008, pp. 77-117.

"Phronetic Organizational Research." In Richard Thorpe and Robin Holt, eds., The Sage Dictionary of Qualitative Management Research. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2008, pp. 153-155.

"A Perestroikan Straw Man Answers Back: David Laitin and Phronetic Political Science." In Sanford F. Schram and Brian Caterino, eds., Making Political Science Matter: Debating Knowledge, Research, and Method. New York and London: New York University Press, 2006, pp. 56-85.

"Making Organization Research Matter: Power, Values, and Phronesis." In Stewart R. Clegg, Cynthia Hardy, Thomas B. Lawrence, and Walter R. Nord, eds., The Sage Handbook of Organization Studies. Second Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, July 2006, pp. 370-387.

"Social Science That Matters." Foresight Europe, No. 2, October 2005– March 2006, pp. 38-42.

"Making Organization Research Matter: Power, Values and Phronesis." In Barbara Czarniawska and Guje Sevón, eds. The Northern Lights: Organization Theory in Scandinavia. Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen: Liber, Abstract, Copenhagen Business School Press, 2003, pp. 357-381.

"Response to Phil Hodkinson." The British Journal of Educational Psychology , vol. 72, part 3, September 2002, pp. 452-53.

"The Science Wars." Philosophy and Social Action, vol. 27, no. 2, 2001, pp. 11-15.

"Planning Theory, Power, and Progressive Phronesis: Reply to Stefano Moroni." Planning Theory, no. 9, Summer 1993, pp. 134-138.

"Aristotle, Foucault and Progressive Phronesis: Outline of an Applied Ethics for Sustainable Development." In Earl Winkler and Jerrold Coombs, eds., Applied Ethics: A Reader. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1993, pp. 11-27. Also published in a revised version in Planning Theory, no. 7-8, Summer-Winter 1992, pp. 65-83.

"Sustaining Non-Rationalized Practices: Body-Mind, Power, and Situational Ethics. An Interview with Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus." Praxis International, vol. 11, no. 1, April 1991, pp. 93-113.

Publications in other Languages by Bent Flyvbjerg on Phronetic Research

Danish

"Moralfilosofiske overvejelser over en bæredygtig udvikling: Det fronetiske imperativ" (Ethical Considerations on Sustainable Development: the Phronetic Imperative). Danish translation by Bent and Morten Raffnsøe-Møller. Philosophia, vol. 23, nos. 3-4, March 1995, pp. 157-173.

"Dreyfus and Dreyfus: Opretholdelse af ikke-rationaliserede praksisser" (Dreyfus and Dreyfus: Sustaining Non-rationalized Practices). Interview with Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus. Danish translation by Bjørn Jespersen. Philosophia, vol. 21, no. 1-2, 1992.

Rationalitet og magt, bind I, Det konkretes videnskab (Rationality and Power, vol. I, Science of the Concrete). Dr. habil dissertation (Dr. Techn.). Copenhagen: Academic Press, 1991, 177 pp.

Rationalitet og magt, bind II, Et case-baseret studie af planlægning, politik og modernitet (Rationality and Power, vol. II, A Case-based Study of Planning, Politics, and Modernity). Dr. habil dissertation (Dr. Techn.). Copenhagen: Academic Press, 1991, 463 pp.

Rationalitet, intuition og krop i menneskets læreproces: Fortolkning og evaluering af Hubert og Stuart Dreyfus' model for indlæring af færdigheder (Rationality, Intuition, and Body in Human Learning: An Interpretation and Evaluation of the Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus Skill Acquisition Model). Aalborg: Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, 1990, 107 pp.

"Videnskab, håndværk, sund fornuft: Tre modeller i diskussionen om 'ny fornuft' og nye paradigmer" (Science, Craft, Common Sense: Three Models in the Discussion on 'New Reason' and New Paradigms). In Jørgen G. Rasmussen, ed., Samfundsforskning (Social Research). Aalborg: Aalborg University Press, 1988, pp. 223-239.

"Aktuelle tendenser i videnskabsteori og byplanforskning: Videnskabsteori for planlægningsforskere og -praktikere med interesse i anvendt filosofi og nye paradigmer" (Current Trends in the Philosophy of Science and Urban Research: Philosophy of Science for Planning Researchers and Planners with an Interest in Applied Philosophy and New Paradigms). Paper presented at Byplanforskermøde 88: Byplanforskningens videnskabsteoretiske indhold (Planning Research Seminar 88: Philosophy of Science and Urban Research). Danish Technical University, November 1988, 89 pp.

Chinese

"Sustaining Non-Rationalized Practices: Body-Mind, Power, and Situational Ethics. An Interview with Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus." Chinese translation by Jessica Wen-hui Chang. Philosophical Research, no. 3, May 1994, pp. 131-155.

Czech

"Morální a politická filosofie dnes. Nárys uzité etiky pro trvale udrzitelny rozvoj: Aristotelés, Foucault a progresivní fronésis." Czech translation by Jan Sindelár. With summaries in English and German and a comment by Oleh Susa. Filosoficky Casopis, vol. 44, no. 1, 1996, pp. 101-122.

"Udrzování nezracionalizovanych praxí: Telo-duch, moc a situacní etika." Interview with Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus, part 2. Czech translation by Oto Novotny. Filosoficky Casopis, vol. 41, no. 6, 1993, pp. 1063-1076.

"Udrzování nezracionalizovanych praxí: Telo-duch, moc a situacní etika." Interview with Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus, part 1. Czech translation by Oto Novotny. Filosoficky Casopis, vol. 41, no. 5, 1993, pp. 891-900.

Hebrew

"Outline of an Applied Ethics for Sustainable Development: Aristotle, Foucault, and Progressive Phronesis." Hebrew translation by the journal. State, Government, and International Relations, no. 41-42, Summer 1997.

Norwegian

"Om å støtte ikke-rasjonaliserte praksiser: Kropp, makt og situasjonsetikk. Et intervju med Hubert og Stuart Dreyfus." Norwegian translation by Guttorm Fjørtoft, Jon Ivar Skullerud, and Audun Øfsti. Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift, vol. 25, no. 3-4, 1990, pp. 165-183.

Portuguese

"Esboco de uma etika aplicada ao desenvolvimento sustentavel: Aristoteles, Foucault e a phronesis progressiva". Portugese translation by Marcelo Pimenta Marques. Sintese Nova Fase, vol. 21, no. 66, July-September 1994, pp. 353-366.

"Mantendo Práticas Não-racionalizadas: Corpo-mente, Poder e Ética Situacional: Uma Entrevista com Hubert & Stuart Dreyfus."Portugese translation by lvaro L. Hatther. Trans Form Ação, vol. 16, 1993, pp. 119-143.

Swedish

"Vårt behov av Phronesis" (Our Need for Phronesis). Edited and translated by Hans O. Sjöström. Ordfront Magasin, no. 3, 1994, pp. 46-51.

"Intuitiv kunskap, etisk vishet, icke-rationaliserad praktik" (Intuitive Knowledge, Ethical Certainty, Non-rationalized Practice). Interview with Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus. Swedish translation by Göran Frederiksson. Häften för Kritiska Studier, vol. 25, no. 1, 1992, pp. 13-32.

Thai

Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again. Thai translation by Orathai Ard-am. Bangkok and Nakornpathom: Kobfai Publishing Project, Foundation for Democracy and Development Studies and Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, 2003, 465 pp.

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