The territory/function dialectic : a social learning paradigm of regional development planning
A personal social learning experience in itself, the thesis articulates the territory/function dialectic as an alternative, social learning paradigm of regional development planning. The current crisis affecting this activity is firstly diagnosed, the underlying problem is then traced to the prevailing orthodoxy, and, in its place, a new paradigm is offered. The story behind the thesis is told via a characterisation of the overall study process as a transition from objective empiricism to empirical subjectivism. The story features highlights of the main case study experiences as well as those insights gained during the actual creation, that is, in the writing, of the ultimate thesis. After identifying the desirable qualities in a contending paradigm, and elaborating the basic elements of the territory/function dialectic, particular attention is given to the significance of territory. This is complemented by a discussion of the fundamental change in the thinking of John Friedmann, who must be credited with originating the subject dialectic. A literature review is presented featuring a consideration of competing paradigms. A detailed contrast of the centre-periphery and territory/function conceptualisations is also presented before concluding with some critical revelations and key insights. The territory/function dialectic is seen to possess the attributes of both a substantive and methodological paradigm. The special paradigm status is bolstered by a consideration of geography's role in relation to the key concept of territory. The paradigm as a whole is seen to underpin an alternative epistemology combining critical science and social learning. The lessons from a social learning experience are elaborated in a revisitation of the original objectives-cum-working hypotheses. These lessons feature: the pursuit of more real theory; the social value of underdevelopment theory; the explicit role of the state as manifest in official practice; and the significance of learning through collective action. The territory/function dialectic is seen to provide the necessary link between theory and practice in an all encompassing manner. The thesis concludes with a review of certain basic, dialectical, dualities. There is also specific consideration of planning and social learning, entailing further distinctions between not only theory and practice, but also between scientific practice and social practice.