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The power of pragmatismKnowledge production and social inquiry$
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Jane Wills and Robert Lake

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526134943

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526134950

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 05 August 2021

Exploring possibilities for a pragmatic orientation in development studies

Exploring possibilities for a pragmatic orientation in development studies

Chapter:
(p.244) 13 Exploring possibilities for a pragmatic orientation in development studies
Source:
The power of pragmatism
Author(s):

Alireza F. Farahani

Azadeh Hadizadeh Esfahani

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526134950.00022

Development studies and related practice have been structured by a duality that can be characterised as ‘big D’ and ‘little d’ development (or the dominant discourse and counter-discourses of development). Neither side has adopted pragmatism in any significant way despite the extent to which it can bring important insights to bear, and in this chapter we highlight the value of pragmatism’s (1) non-relativist anti-foundationalism, (2) dynamic and process-oriented approach to social reality, (3) experimentationalism for progress, and (4) deep, creative and radical democracy. We explore the relevance of these principles in providing new directions for development studies. Building on participatory, popular and indigenous ideas about development, we advocate a pragmatic approach to development, considering spaces of transaction, emergence and learning, and an orientation towards practice, deep democracy and social hope. We draw on a number of Iranian examples to illustrate our argument about the epistemological, ontological, practical and political relevance of the philosophy of pragmatism for development studies and practice.

Keywords:   pragmatist philosophy, reflexive development, ‘big d’ and ‘little d’ development, transactional space, emergence, deep democracy

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