This paper presents an approach for analysing ideology dynamics in strategic urban planning based on post-foundational political theory. Drawing on empirical material of strategic planners discussing their usage of the concept of sustainability it is suggested that although planners generally consider themselves to be pragmatic problem-solvers, it is exactly in their efforts to ‘get things done’ that they become deeply embroiled in the social dynamics of ideology. The reason for this is that planners are forced to employ ideologically charged concepts to bring together the disparate coalitions of actors that are needed for generating any form of policy traction in fractured governance landscapes. However, the ideological utilization of a concept contributes not only to the reproduction of hegemonic relations but also to a consequent hollowing out of the concept whereby its meaning becomes increasingly diluted, leading to its eventual demise and replacement.
- post-foundational theory
- strategic planning