Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University
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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:



Bent Flyvbjerg's Publications on Rationality and Power

Bent Flyvbjerg's main study of the relationship between rationality and power in urban policy and planning is:

Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice. University of Chicago Press, 1998.

The book explores how rationality and power shape the cities in which we live. The city of Aalborg, Denmark is to Flyvbjerg what Florence was to Machiavelli: a laboratory for understanding the real workings of power and what they mean for more general concerns of policy and planning. To see Table of Contents and more, click here. To read an excerpt from the book, click here. For a list of reviews of Rationality and Power, click here.

Other Publications from Flyvbjerg's Research on Rationality and Power are:

"Rationality and Power." In Scott Cambell and Susan S. Fainstein, eds., Readings in Planning Theory, second edition. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003, pp. 318-329.

"Planning and Foucault: In Search of the Dark Side of Planning Theory." Co-author: Tim Richardson. In Philip Allmendinger and Mark Tewdwr-Jones, eds., Planning Futures: New Directions for Planning Theory. London and New York: Routledge, 2002, pp. 44-62.

"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. Also published in Andy Thornley and Yvonne Rydin, eds. Planning in a Global Era. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002, pp. 117-141.

"Beyond the Limits of Planning Theory: Response to my Critics." International Planning Studies, vol. 6, no. 3, August 2001, pp. 285-292.

"Ideal Theory, Real Rationality: Habermas Versus Foucault and Nietzsche." Paper for the Political Studies Association's 50 th Annual Conference, "The Challenges for Democracy in the 21st Century," London School of Economics and Political Science, 10-13 April 2000, 20 pp.

"The Power of Rationality is Embedded in Stable Power Relations Rather Than in Confrontations." Philosophy and Social Action, vol. 25, no. 2, April-June 1999, pp. 37-41.

"The Dark Side of Planning: Rationality and Realrationalität. " In Seymour J. Mandelbaum, Luigi Mazza, and Robert W. Burchell, eds., Explorations in Planning Theory. New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Urban Policy Research Press, 1996, pp. 383-394.

"Velkommen til magten" (Welcome to Power). In Danish. Byplan, vol. 44, no. 1, February 1992, pp. 10-15. Also printed in Samfundsøkonomen, vol. 10, no. 2, March 1992, pp. 37-43 and in Nordisk Administrativt Tidsskrift, vol. 73, no. 1, 1992, pp. 47-58.

In later studies, Bent Flyvbjerg has developed his work on rationality and power to cover the relationship between truth and lying in policy and planning.

Back to Main Page on Rationality and Power in Urban Policy and Planning


Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, Fibigerstraede 11 - 13, DK-9220 Aalborg East, Denmark, Phone: (+45) 96 35 80 80