Pathologies of recognition : the communicative turn and the renewed possibility of a critical theory of societyHazeldine, Gary 2015 (has links)
This thesis explores the communicative turn in critical theory, beginning with Jürgen Habermas’s and Axel Honneth’s criticisms of the work of the early Frankfurt school; it then analyses Habermas’s ideas on language and discourse ethics alongside Axel Honneth’s development of a ‘recognitive-theoretical’ model of Critical Theory. Following Honneth’s lead, I then bring the work of Michel Foucault into dialogue with the communicative turn and explore the merits of both approaches. Habermas’s and Honneth’s accounts of non-coercive dialogical exchange are found wanting, and I argue that they idealise the public sphere, communication and recognition, and also reproduce procedural conceptions of freedom that abstract from difference and particularity. Foucault compensates for this, but his genealogical work displays an excessive and indiscriminate view of power, alongside an inadequate conception of subjectivity, whilst his later work on ethics/aesthetics idealises the self as a work of art and lacks a substantive account of culture, democracy, and responsibility. I argue that Theodor Adorno’s account of non-reified culture and ethics – as a response to the suffering produced by commodification, identity thinking and technological rationality – overcomes the shortcomings of the work of Habermas, Honneth and Foucault, whilst providing us with a more complete account of recognition and solidarity.
This thesis examines the practice of campaigning journalism, where a newspaper seeks political influence and claims to do so on behalf of its readers or a wider public. It is a production and content study of campaign journalism in the Scottish press, examining the journalists’ orientation to their readers, both in terms of social responsibility toward them in facilitating their citizenship, and in terms of accountability or answerability to them as their quasi-representatives. The study also analyses the newspapers’ representation of the substance and legitimacy of public opinion to politicians at the Scottish Parliament, in particular the governing Scottish Executive (now Scottish Government), and the framing of politicians’ obligation to respond to public demands as formulated by the newspapers. In short, it seeks to investigate newspapers’ democratic claims to be the voice of ‘the public’. Existing literature indicates that a key legitimation of campaigning journalism is that the newspaper is acting on behalf of a public or publics. However, it is not clear how these claims are substantiated. Existing mechanisms of accountability and normative conventions of responsibility are based on the liberal model of democracy, whereby the press are responsible for informing voters. In campaigning, the press instead adopt the language of representing group interests or protest politics that would fit with a corporatist or participatory model of democracy. These alternative models presuppose active or at least attentive publics, and newspapers’ interaction with and representation of them in this sense. This would fit with popular notions of Scottish political history as characterised by activism, and the aspirations of the Scottish Parliament. However, the campaigns instead addressed an imagined public that were conceived of as a market, and represented ‘the public’ as a passive and powerless aggregate of interests. Despite campaigning being taken up on behalf of disadvantaged groups, those affected were only given a voice to express their feelings as victims, and political advocacy was largely reserved to the newspaper rather than extended to associations and organisations in civic society. The neo-liberal assumption of private (not political) self-determination and freedom as the defence of property and other personal interests meant that affected individuals were portrayed as passive and vulnerable ‘victims’ whose freedom and agency were oppressed by criminal perpetrators. Where social welfare was addressed it was dissociated from taxation, and portrayed in terms of consumer preferences. Publics were otherwise addressed and portrayed as an aggregate mass of instrumental interests and fearful, defensive feelings, not as associative or discursive.
Knight, Laura Jane
Issues of ‘wellbeing’ and ‘happiness’ are becoming more and more prevalent in discussions of social policy and in the provision of healthcare services. In recent years, the maximisation of a nation’s ‘happiness’ has emerged as both a key policy objective and as a central focus within social, political and economic research, with public policy makers around the world having demonstrated a growing interest in national accounts of ‘wellbeing’. In the UK context, this growing interest is comprised of a perceived need to ‘know’ ‘happiness’ and ‘wellbeing’ better, so that they might be maximised. Such attitudes and beliefs made possible the introduction of four new questions to the Annual Population Survey that were specifically designed to measure the UK’s “subjective wellbeing” (now referred to as “individual life satisfaction” following revisions in subsequent years). In addition to this, in 2010 a non-profit organisation named Action for Happiness (AfH) was founded which sought to maximise the ‘happiness’ of society by offering individual members help and training towards living a ‘happier’ life - an endeavour which is understood to be necessitated by the stagnation of ‘happiness’ in modern Western societies. This thesis seeks to critically account for the emergence of such social and political practices – or ‘happiness agenda’ - and does so from a poststructuralist, post-Marxist standpoint. This is achieved by utilising the specific methodological strategy developed by Glynos & Howarth (2007) which constitutes a retroductive, deconstructive, approach to accounting for socio-political phenomena. In doing so, three types of logics underpinning these practices are identified, presenting an explanation as to what, how and why these practices are. Accounting for the emergence of such a ‘happiness agenda’ enables it (and its emergence) to be critiqued – specifically, the notion contained within it that maximised individual ‘happiness’ constitutes social progression. Indeed, central to the critique of the ‘happiness agenda’ that this thesis presents is an acknowledgement of the need of a socio-political equality agenda, where ‘social progression’ is instead conceptualised as maximised social equality.
This thesis seeks to develop a conception of the British Political Tradition as an idea of democracy and apply it to explain the constitutional development of the House of Lords. The British Parliament is one of the oldest Parliaments in the world and is characterised both by the stability of its governing institutions and its capacity to absorb change. Academic literature of the British Political Tradition offers a plethora of arguments aimed at explaining which idea(s) have underpinned governing institutions and sustained their longevity in the constitution. The objective of this thesis is to demonstrate how the stability of Britain’s governing institutions and its history of strong authoritative government emanate from a dominant though contested idea of democracy founded upon a limited liberal idea of representation and a conservative idea of responsibility. The House of Lords is examined from the 1688 Glorious Revolution through to the modern day House of Lords Reform process (2012). The aim is to demonstrate through empirical practice how the British Political Tradition has been the dominant idea shaping the development the constitution and defining the powers of the Crown and the Houses of Lords and Commons.
Lewis, William R.
In a broad sense this thesis concerns the politics (and ethics) of strategic management, organisational psychology, organisational narratives, knowledge management and conditions of innovation. More specifically, this is research into the dimension of politics and the legitimacy of power relations within the synchronization of time and space in social organisations, typically as part of the design and implementation of strategy, in context of organisational definitions of innovation and contestations of 'the new'. With a conceptual archaeology, the thesis contends that strategy research focuses on the nodal concepts of 'inertia', 'adaptation' and 'friction', in context of three past conceptual frameworks: namely, Newtonian mechanics, Hobbesian interpretations of evolution, and Clausewitzian military theory. A genealogical approach is used to reveal the persistent influence of the Newtonian notion of simultaneity (absolute time and absolute space) across these three frameworks in their combinatorial guise in the discourse of strategic management. The genealogy unfreezes the nodal concepts by showing the history of their contingent construction and selection. Finally, a critical analysis scrutinizes the contextual appropriateness of applying the concept of simultaneity to social matters. The thesis rejects simultaneity and its dominant position as an 'articulatory practice' of organisational strategy. By decoupling the notion of simultaneity from frames through which sense is made of motion and events, the grip that structuralism has on organisational strategy is loosened and by substituting simultaneity with political power the implications for strategic management become clear. The approach draws from Political Discourse Theory to reframe the strategy discourse, in its current conception, as hegemonic and an antagonistic system of 'Politics' that, instead of facilitating either stability or innovation, leads, instead, to 'conceptual inertia' and economic stagnation, by repressing emergences of 'the Political'. The thesis proposes a strategy of 'agonism' as an alternative. Rather than replacing one despotic concept with another, the suggestion of agonistic strategy is made because agonism allows for its own reinterpretation, thus does not represent a sedimented centre of a discourse. In this way, agonism is less susceptible to stagnation, and more amenable to innovation. The theoretical framework is then accompanied with a study of the design and implementation of strategy within a research institute engaged with the innovation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) using the CRISPR-cas9 technique. The selection of this case organisation allows for an analysis of the politics and power relations at play in the definitions of innovation, and a means to ground a study of the social construction of reality within an empirical setting regarding the strategic development of genetic constructs.
Liberating Ecumenism : an ecclesiological dialogue with the Final Report of the Special Commission on Orthodox participation in the World Council of ChurchesMcGeoch, Graham Gerald 2015 (has links)
The thesis attempts to address Orthodox Church concerns about the Protestant nature and ethos of the ecumenical movement, as it is encountered in the World Council of Churches, by examining Orthodox theological contributions to ecclesiology. This preliminary work is undertaken, as a first step, to establish points of dialogue with the theology of liberation and wider critical theories, in the search for a liberating ecumenism. At the same time, and in a second step (to follow the epistemology of the theology of liberation), this Orthodox theology is placed in a critical dialogue with the theology of liberation in the search for liberating ecclesiological perspectives that can contribute to the movement in ecumenism. This uneasy dialogue helps to recover absent epistemologies from ongoing ecumenical dialogues by re-reading orthodoxies, both ecumenical and ecclesiological, from a liberationist paradigm, and sets ecclesiology within the wider framework of contributions from critical theory. This dialogue between Orthodox theology and the theology of liberation helps to construct an ecclesiology that liberates ecumenism by setting ecclesiology and the ecumenical movement in the wider context of social movements. This thesis calls the ecumenical movement to ‘another possible world’ influenced by people-centred ecclesiologies, which transgresses the canonical boundaries in the ecumenical movement. To be ecumenical implies an Orthodox content to ecclesiology, otherwise the ecumenical movement is open to charges of pan-Protestantism. It is by embracing Orthodoxy that the ecumenical movement can move beyond hegemonic colonial projects and find a liberating praxis. This thesis proposes a dialogue that reflects the structure of the Final Report of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the World Council of Churches. However, it engages with Orthodox ecclesiology and ecumenical histories from the perspective of the theology of liberation in the search for a liberating ecumenism and proposes a praxis that develops movement in the ecumenical and the ecclesiological through developing an ecclesiology from different peripheries of the Church.
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