Reinventing planning and planners: Ideological decontestations and rhetorical appeals

Simin Davoudi, Daniel Galland*, Dominic Stead

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)


This article contributes to the debate about ideologically motivated planning reforms. It aims to advance the debate by exploring how change is legitimised through forms of rhetorical persuasion. It shows how political ideologies become embedded in planning policies and practices through strategies of legitimation aimed at justifying specific ideas, beliefs and values as self-evident and inevitable. These legitimation strategies rely on distinctive rhetorical appeals to steer planning discourses, policies and institutions. By using short illustrative examples of ‘ideology in action’ from Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands, the article shows that various combinations of rhetorical appeals to logos, ethos, pathos and doxa (logic, character, emotion and identity) are often simultaneously at work to naturalise contested planning reforms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-37
Number of pages21
JournalPlanning Theory
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • legitimation
  • planning reforms
  • political ideologies
  • rhetorical appeals


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