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Title: Social value of literary reading : reading as socio-political practice
Author: Kanaouti, Sophia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 4287
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis attempts to illustrate the links between literary reading, social agency and social change using a Cultural Studies approach that addresses the construction of the literary reader in the English and Greek context in the twentieth century. Via Althusser's notion of the Ideological State Apparatuses and Balibar and Macherey's views of literary reading exerting power over the reader, the thesis questions notions of literature as an institution of suppression. It uses Williams's and Bennett's work, which address the reader in more emancipating terms and attempts to move beyond even these writers' work, theorising the existence of three types of literature reader, connected with education as a social institution. These are the adequate reader, the dependent reader, and the performing reader. Reading as performance addresses social change. Linking the reader's experience of the text with the understanding of language and following from that the state of being conscious of the experience of social reality, the thesis recognises a relationship between Williams's structures of feeling, Althusser's notion of the imaginary relationship of the person with her conditions of existence, and Aristotle's contention that the product of imagination (phantasmd) is needed in order for the person to understand; starting from them, it theorises what it calls historical imagination, as the imaginary reality that takes on the validity of history (of something that is believed to have happened beyond doubt) in the minds of the readers. The importance of language as a social parameter of access is underlined by the examination of official documents regarding literary educational policy and assessment, spanning the twentieth century. Lastly and very importantly, Bhabha's work on what he called a 'third space', together with Hall's 'arbitrary closure' and hooks's notion of negotiation leading to 'repositioning' are also used; thus the thesis sees reading as a 'third space' of negotiation, which encourages re-negotiation and re-positioning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available