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Understanding power dynamics in the planning process: the case of a retail development in Glasgow, Scotland

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This paper uses critical discourse analysis (CDA) to investigate power, influence and inequality manifested in the planning process involving an application for a retail development in Glasgow, Scotland. The objectives include an exploration of the role that language and discourse play in reflecting and constituting relations of power between the stakeholders in the process and to explore the value of the ideas of linguists such as Fairclough and van Dijk as tools of research in town planning. To do this, this paper shows how texts can be used to challenge knowledge, manufacture consent and articulate and sustain resistance and challenge. The paper sets out initially the theoretical influences that inform relations of power and dominance in order to better understand the relationship between language and power followed by an analysis of texts drawn from a wider body of information related to the planning application to inform the conclusions. This paper concludes with a discussion of the value and utility of CDA as a valid method for social inquiry and as a useful resource for understanding power and dominance in the urban sphere.

Keywords: power dynamics, critical discourse analysis, Glasgow, Scotland, UK, United Kingdom, planning processes, retail developments, influence, inequality, language, power relations, stakeholders, linguists, Norman Fairclough, Teun van Dijk, town planning, manufacturing consent, resistance, challenges, dominance, planning applications, social inquiry, urban areas, cities, Tesco, food retailing, superstores, Partick, Hillhead, supermarkets, sustainable society, sustainability, sustainable development

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