Depoliticization and post-politicization are emerging as popular approaches to help understand contemporary planning and explain the contradiction between, on the one hand, an open and growing commitment on the part of planners to greater public involvement and, on the other, dissatisfaction with and rejection of planning processes and outcomes on the part of the general public and others. How do these approaches fit into the ‘schools of planning theory’ approach in Chapter 2? There is an overlap with and clear links to political economy and collaborative approaches discussed elsewhere in this book though it is fair to say that depoliticization and post-politics are more a lens through which we can frame and understand contemporary planning. There is not a clear distinction between depoliticization and the post-political and both terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, despite the overlaps there are sufficient differences to justify treating the terms and the thinking behind them distinctly. Depoliticization has tended to be seen as a broad process of change and direction of travel that highlights the shifts in the nature of contemporary planning, particularly in Europe and the USA, around circumscribing transparency and accountability and governing with sufficient (but no more) democratic input to maintain legitimacy. Post-politicization or post-politics, on the other hand, focuses more on a series of techniques that defer and displace debate from planning into other, managerial or technical (post-political) arenas.
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