Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.590967
Title: Searching for voices : a study of identity and discourse in the work of selected contemporary Scottish writers
Author: Borthwick, David
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2007
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Abstract:
This thesis uses the work of Mikhail Bakhtin and John Macmurray to inform a detailed reading of selected works by Janice Galloway, James Kelman, A.L. Kennedy and Irvine Welsh. The thesis argues that these writers depict versions of an ideologically pluralist and socially fragmented Scottish society in which the construction and maintenance of personal identity is particularly problematic. Bakhtin’s concept of ‘ideological becoming’ is used to discuss protagonists who are variously exploited by, or exploiters of, the many ideologically charged voices that surround and assail them. Chapters one and two explore selected works by Janice Galloway, James Kelman and A.L. Kennedy, examining the means by which their protagonists attempt a Bakhtinian (re)becoming after traumatic events leave them in a state of psychic confusion. Chapter three looks at the very different characters of Irvine Welsh, arguing that they respond to ideological pluralism in kind, avoiding the process of ‘ideological becoming’ altogether to indulge in an egotistic progress of continual reinvention which assists in the characters’ being able to satisfy limited, and contextual, needs and desires. The work of philosopher John Macmurray is employed in the thesis to provide an examination of self-other relations that contrasts with, yet enhances, Bakhtin’s model as a means for examining dialogic interaction between social forces in the Scottish novel. The thesis concludes that each writer depicts a society which lacks any stable meta-narrative which may allow protagonists to enact a satisfactory process of ‘ideological becoming’; instead, each character’s reality exists as a multitude of simultaneous ‘semantic centres’ which cannot be ordered with any consistency or coherence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.590967  DOI: Not available
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