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Theorising Textual Subjects: Agency and Oppression: 21 (Literature, Culture, Theory, Series Number 21)

Theorising Textual Subjects: Agency and Oppression: 21 (Literature, Culture, Theory, Series Number 21)

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Meili Steele
Cambridge University Press, 5/1/1997
EAN 9780521576796, ISBN10: 0521576792

Paperback, 234 pages, 21.6 x 14 x 1.5 cm
Language: English

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.

Introduction
1. Stories of oppression and appeals to freedom
2. Language, ethics, and subjectivity in the liberal/communitarian debate
3. Theorising narratives of agency and subjection
4. Truth, beauty, and goodness in James's The Ambassadors
5. The subject of democracy in the work of Ralph Ellison
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index.