Robert A. Beauregard, Planning Matter: Acting with Things, University of Chicago Press, 2015; ISBN: 978-0-226-29739-2; 256 pp.





In Planning Matter Robert Beauregard explores the contribution of actor-network theory (ANT) to the study and practice of planning. This is a difficult task since ANT is not a theory in the traditional sense, that can be applied to phenomena and render explanations. Perhaps, it is best described as a method that informs a relational understanding of specific situations. It is also a tricky task because it implies seeing a modern discipline through the lens of a literature that claims ‘we have never been modern’ (Latour, 1993). Beauregard (1989; 1991) has long grappled with the tension between post-modern theory and modern planning, and in this book, he concentrates on a non-modern challenge. Instead of a seemingly head-on collision (Chapter 1), the book describes a productive encounter that provides insight into planning’s post-modern tensions. ANT can inspire planners ‘[to] become moral agents deeply entangled with the material world’ (p. 226) and, in an unexpected manner, help modern planning to become relevant again today.





Book review


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