Developing an analogy between theories and plans in articulating a theory of epistemics in planning, this project has grown out of my multiyear involvement in the MPIWG project “Planning and Counter-Planning, which is nearing completion with the assembly of the book An Alphabetical History of Planning. This forthcoming publication develops novel insights emergent in juxtaposing multiple examples of colonial planning. It reveals the value of analytically working the concept of "the plan" as ontologically multiple. However, doing so plunges us into dealing with and explicitly managing, the dichotomy paradox.
In Planning and Counter-Planning, we found ourselves somewhat unexpectedly dealing with an issue that has been recognized in history and philosophy of science since the 1940s when Bachelard first articulated the phenomenon. Conceptually, Bachelard’s insight recognises the historically contingent co-constitution of knowledge and entities known. At the end of the century the insight was picked up in various ways by Bruno Latour, Ian Hacking and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger who variously emphasized both the proliferations effected in this co-constitution – the creating of associations, generating of connections, and adding of mediators, while (paradoxically) simultaneously allowing for purifications and the singularities of universalizing. In the work of analysis, recognizing and emphasizing the roles of practices, for example practices of planning, inevitably involves analysts in management of the dichotomy paradox. As theories plans are necessarily mobilized as simultaneously technologies of control and technologies of negotiation. Theorizing and planning are Janus headed. Focused as an ethnography of the concept "planning moment" this project develops a theory of epistemics in planning.