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Theorising Textual Subjects : Agency and Oppression - Meili Steele

Theorising Textual Subjects

Agency and Oppression

Hardcover

Published: 13th May 1997
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This book addresses the central crisis in critical theory today: how to theorise the subject as both a construct of oppressive discourse and a dialogical agent. By engaging with a wide range of leading political, philosophical, and critical thinkers - Jameson, Habermas, MacIntyre, Rorty, Taylor, Benhabib, and West are all critiqued - Meili Steele proposes linking language with human agency in order to develop an alternative textual and ethical theory of the subject. Steele shows how constructivist theories of agency fail to account for the ethical implications of the supposed contingency of all contexts, and how dialogical theorists fail to acknowledge the insight of postmodern critiques. Developing this theory through readings of texts that address issues of identity, politics, race, and feminist theory, Steele illustrates that we do not have to choose between an idealised or demonised modernity.

"With an admirable attention to methodological detail, Steele reviews a formidable array of theorists and the contemporary political/ethical debates thay have generated. Through his suggestive narrative readings he illustrates the relevance of fictional strategies to his presiding concern with agency and its dynamics." John Hopkins University Press "Meili Steele Theorizing Textual Subjects is an impressive work that attempts to bridge the gap between the concerns of various critical theories...essential reading for anyone intrested in critical thought. American Literature "With an admiral attention to methodlogical detaile, Steele reviews a formidable array of theorists and the contemporary political/ethical debates thay have generated. Through his suggestive narrative readings he illustrates the relevance of fictional strategies to his presiding concern with agency and its dynamics." MLN "...[Steele]...enters fruitfully into a dialogue that has remained static for too long. Theorizing Textual Subject is consequently essential reading for anyone interested in critical thought. ...Steele's ability to formulate and then critique contemporary critical problems makes for a provocative and admirable study." Priscilla Walton, American Literature

Introduction
Stories of oppression and appeals to freedom
Language, ethics, and subjectivity in the liberal/communitarian debate
Theorising narratives of agency and subjection
Truth, beauty, and goodness in James's The Ambassadors
The subject of democracy in the work of Ralph Ellison
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521571852
ISBN-10: 0521571855
Series: Literature, Culture, Theory
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 234
Published: 13th May 1997
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 13.8  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.45