Keywords:Planning, Lacan, Planning Theories, Global South, Hegemony, Western Philosophy, Colonialism, Decoloniality, Lacanian discourse theory, Southern planning theory
As a planning theorist who has studied and taught planning theory in the Global South and North, I grapple with the question - "What does planning theory mean in the Global South?" To answer this question, I ontologically investigate the meaning of Southern planning theory based on a Lacanian approach. Drawing on the Lacanian theory of human subjectivity, this article explains how planning theorists’ identities are constituted through their interactions within academia. Lacanian discourse theory assists in exploring how most Southern planning theorists adopt, internalise, and use hegemonic Western philosophy, ideas, and discourses as the only accepted mechanism of truth. Consequently, this process profoundly alienates Southern planning theorists from their local context, as they often devalue, overlook, and neglect non-Western beliefs, ideas, knowledge, and philosophy. I argue that although the number of Southern planning theorists has increased during the last decades, non-Western philosophy is seldom utilised as the core of their critical studies. Based on the Lacanian discourse theory, I show that they mostly remain in the hegemonic mechanism of knowledge production that is embedded in the colonial era.