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Subject to reading : literacy and belief in the work of Jacques Lacan and Paulo Freire

De Klerk, Eugene Henry (2007) Subject to reading : literacy and belief in the work of Jacques Lacan and Paulo Freire. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Through an analysis of, and novel comparison between, the thought of Jacqes Lacan and Paulo Freire, this thesis endevours to rethink subjective agency in a way which takes into account the determinate influence of socio-symbolic structures. It argues for a reconceptualisation of subjecthood such that it might once again (subsequent to postmodernism and poststructuralism) become a basis of a system of ethics. The project examines the ways in which Lacan and Freire innovatively chart the dialectic between being and meaning which, they posit, is a universal human phenomenon. Within their conceptions of this dialectic a subject not only has the ability to make fundamental choices but can also ground trans-subjective truth. The thesis addresses what it percieves as a need to re-emphasize subjecthood as a symbolic existence required of all human beings. Such an existence, it maintains, is the object of Lacan and Freire's work. It, furthermore, posits that the impetus behind their interventions concerning subjectivity is primarily an ethical one. Both thinkers cite engagement with and humility before the project of meaning (as shared human activity) as an essential component of an authentic subjective act. Literacy operates in this thesis as a unifying motif between the thought of Freire and Lacan.Understood in light of their work, literacy suggests a pedagogical practice that prompts individuals to realise their capacity and responsibility as subjects. The project aims to outline the central features and tactics of such practice. The thesis also draws on examples from literature, particularly that of J.M. Coetzee, in an attempt to explicate the dynamics with which both Freire and Lacan are preoccupied. Coetzee is particularly suited to this end because his novels are largely concerned with how subjects confront the necessity as well as the difficulty of making ethical interventions in meaning.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Phipps, Professor Alison and Stuart, Dr. Susan
Date of Award: 2007
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:2007-499
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2008
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:19
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/499

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