Luciano Vettoretto

New perspectives?

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The paper deals with the "return to realism" in Italian urban research. Current realism is a multifaceted perspective in the epistemological and methodological debate, which seems increasingly to involve a conflict between such 'realisms' and certain forms of extreme radical constructivism, and its often associated relativism. The paper suggests that forms of radical constructivism (despite its early critical/emancipatory claims) arise from deep changes in models of neo-liberism governance and attitudes, and in some post-modern points of view, and that the return to non-naïve realism reveals a significant rethinking of the practices and outcomes of such a governance/policy/research style. In particular, a sophisticated realism (which is in some way comparable with a sophisticated constructivism) seems to be the new perspective for critical urban research and action.

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