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Title: A multi-contextualist approach to Albert Camus's 'The New Mediterranean Culture' : a case study in Intelletual-Historical Method
Author: Foxlee, Neil
Awarding Body: University of Central Lancashire
Current Institution: University of Central Lancashire
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis examines Albert Camus's 1937 lecture 'La nouvelle culture méditerraneeime', using a multi-contextualist version of the intellectual-historical approach to textual interpretation developed by Quentin Skinner. Whereas Skinner rejects text-centred and crude socio-historical approaches and focuses on the argumentative context of previous texts on the same subject, I argue that different parts of the text need to be placed in different contexts - argumentative, biographical and socio-historical - for its significance to be properly understood. I also supplement Skinner's approach with the complementary approaches of J.G.A. Pocock and Reinhard Koselleck, which focus on discourses and concepts respectively. Discussing humanist and postcolonial approaches to Camus's lecture, I show that both are ultimately unsatisfactory, whether at the textual or the contextual level. The humanist contextualization of the lecture in terms of French discourses on the Mediterranean fails to take adequate account of the colonial context, and the postcolonial contextualization of the lecture in terms of French discourses on Algeria fails to take adequate account of both the lecture's political context and Camus's position on the colonial issue. Camus's attitudes are compared and contrasted with those of Gabriel Audisio, his greatest influence in the lecture, and those of Maurras and Henri Massis, his polemical targets. The lecture is shown to intervene in three overlapping debates: on the Mediterranean, culture and the East/West question. Although Camus does not address colonialism in the lecture itselL his other activities at the time demonstrate his commitment to native Algerian civil rights. I show that at the biographical level, the attitudes he expresses in the lecture were influenced by both his family background and by other thinkers, especially Jean Grenier, Nietzsche and possibly Balcunin. These attitudes had a profound impact in turn on his later thinking, notably in L 'J-lomme révolté and during the Algerian war.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Media studies