Value Exchange and the Social Economy: Framework and Paradigm Shift in Urban Policy GCP-96-3

David Fasenfest,  Penelope Ciancanelli and Laura A. Reese  

Urban policy creation and evaluation derive from an often unstated but far-reaching paradigm or framework that privileges a particular model of market processes. It is a paradigm in the full Kuhnian sense. This is the world view of most governmental officials, development professionals, and even academics. It influences the way urban problems have been identified, the kind of questions asked, the range of solutions considered, and the research methodologies employed. As Tetreault and Abel have observed, “what we can see is, to a large extent, conditional on the existence of prior categories and our understanding of how they fit together” (1986:4). Henriot spells out the implications of a paradigm for the researcher’s field of vision when he writes, “it is clear that the manner in which a problem is defined has much to do with the possible solutions which can be suggested” (1983:27). Moreover, both explicitly and implicitly a market paradigm has been defining and driving urban policy for the past several decades as “development officials have almost universally remained within the institutional and value framework of traditional capitalism” (Bingham and Blair, 1984:13.)

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