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Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice (Morality and Society Series) Paperback – February 28, 1998

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226254517 ISBN-10: 0226254518 Edition: First Edition (US) First Printing

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Deeply original ... This book presents the single most important challenge to the perspectives of conventional social science." -- Alasdair Macintyre, University of Notre Dame

"Enthralling ... a seminal contribution ... demonstrates the fruitfulness of the intellectual tradition from Thucydides, Machiavelli and Nietzsche." -- European Societies, European Sociological Association

"Successful ... distinctive ... original." -- American Political Science Review

"The sharpest advance in our understanding of how power actually works since Machiavelli's The Prince was published in 1532." -- The Australian

"This book should be compulsory reading." -- Journal of the American Planning Association

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Danish --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Morality and Society Series (Book 1998)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (February 28, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226254518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226254517
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #630,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bent Flyvbjerg is the first BT Professor and founding Chair of Major Programme Management at Oxford University and founding Director of the University's BT Centre for Major Programme Management. He was previously Professor of Planning at Aalborg University, Denmark and Chair of Infrastructure Policy and Planning at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. Flyvbjerg has written extensively about megaprojects, decision making, city management, and philosophy of social science. He originated the social science methodology called "phronetic social science," which led to the so-called "Flyvbjerg Debate" (see http://bit.ly/YscJOb). Bent Flyvbjerg has twice held the Fulbright Scholarship. He was knighted in the Order of the Dannebrog in 2002. See more at uk.linkedin.com/in/flyvbjerg

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jason G Lutz on April 14, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Flyvbjerg does an excellent job of detailing how authority and power relationships influence the rationality of individuals functioning within and around a particular organization. He does this by exemplifying the art of rationalization as opposed to rational thought in certain contexts.

However, he also details how eventually these structures can be altered and how rationality can be used to limit the influence of that particular power. It almost becomes a "push pull relationship" as the powerful lose rationality and the powerless use rationality as a tool. Thus, structures and relationships are regularly altered due to transitions in relationship. Of course, Flyvebjerg does not necessarily see this as a good thing, as it can work to impede progress.

I have to temper my acceptance of the findings in this book, since I do not feel that the sample is homogeneous to other cities much less other countries. However, it is a must read for future public administrators. For no other reason than it provides insight into the lag of rationality within organizations and the dangers of to much "power".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marcus McInerney on October 5, 2011
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A quote from this book says it all for me and I imagine also for those that have been practising PM for a lot of years and studying the various related areas of study and research to gain new insights as to why so many projects fail or fall short of expected sucess....."Power has a rationality that rationality does not know, whereas rationality does not have a power that power does not know".
Perhaps this should be regarded as separate sector in terms of stakeholder management.
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Great narrative of the planning process. There is much that can be learned about this very interesting case of planning, plus the story presented is very intriguing in and of itself. The author is very knowledgeable in planning and how it practically relates to philosophy and human nature.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Anthony on June 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
It is a must read book for everyone. The way that Flyvbjerg structure his book and the language he use, he make this book suitable for all readers. Importantly, he cleverly and clearly presented the case of rationality and power in planning, but show the difficultly in striking a balance. So is it, 'Rationality over Power, or Power over Rationality' , this book give you an insight that allow readers to look around themselves.
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