Playing with/in plurality: Revitalizing realities and relationships in Rotterdam

Tineke A. Abma

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We are living in a postmodern society characterized by a permanent and irreducible plurality. This has serious implications for the practices of social planning and evaluation. This has not always been fully recognized. The dominant discourse in evaluation is modernist in its ambition to rationalize society by the instrumental use of objective, scientific knowledge. This coincides well with centralized, top-down social planning based on analysis and instruction by experts. Although dominant approaches have been criticized for their technocratic orientation, proposed alternatives are incompatible with a decentralized, bottom-up and interactive planning that takes a diversity of perspectives into account. The case of social revitalization in Rotterdam illustrates that a responsive evaluation approach can succesfully support attempts of entrepreneurial, local governments that invite and involve public, private and voluntary stakeholders to revitalize their realities and relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-48
Number of pages24
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1997

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