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Title: Between identity and practice : the narratives of the intellectual in the twentieth-century
Author: Palmer, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0001 3466 0769
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis is a text-based analysis of conceptions of the intellectual in relation to the political sphere. The specific instances studied relate, positively and negatively, to the socialist tradition in politics and culture. They are drawn from a variety of academic disciplinary contexts and also from the contexts of political organisations and social movements. One of the principal dilemmas faced by the intellectual in this century, as this thesis sets out to make clear, has been that of trying to bridge the divide between these two spheres. This investigation is centred upon statements made by intellectuals reflecting upon the typical role or function of the intellectual within society and politics. My contention is that such self-reflection is a necessary condition of the intellectual's coming into being. Intellectuals are realised in specific identities, in a process of self-identification. The force of intellectual practice is dependent upon elements of personal commitment, moral or political, and the enactment of an experiential dimension. But, at the same time, as a practice that has a transcendent orientation, the intellectual seeks to go beyond the subjective in pursuit of the objective, the extra-personal, the unsituated. My thesis offers itself as an identification of a tradition, as the relation of a narrative of the intellectual, which also recognises its own particularity. As such, it is not a work of synthesis, but a reflexive narrative. Narrative is an appropriate concept with regards to the intellectual; it may thus be seen as a creative process drawing upon particular events and characters. Such a view, involving both commitment to and distance from the intellectual, is not common within prevailing accounts, which have tended to be either sociological-objective or normative-subjective. I have tried to see the intellectual as reflexively situated between these positions, as between an interested identity and disinterested practice, and not just in a purely “objective" fashion but acknowledging my own involvement within such a view.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM Sociology ; L Education (General)