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Title: Restoring porosity and the ecological crisis : a post-Ricoeurian reading of the Julian of Norwich texts
Author: Foster-Gilbert, Claire Margaret
ISNI:       0000 0004 7223 560X
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis seeks to answer the question: can the Julian of Norwich texts be read today in such a way that they can help address the twenty-first century ecological crisis, by transforming our ‘buffered’ subjectivity into the ‘porous’ subjectivity Julian brought to and learnt from her revelations? The thesis argues that the stresses on the planet that are caused by humanity are themselves symptoms of an underlying human subjectivity enslaved by Gestell, the ‘essence of technology’, defined by Heidegger, which turns nature and humanity itself into objects to be exploited. This underlying ‘buffered’ condition is the real challenge, because if current ecological problems arise from a Gestell mindset, then solutions that are sought by the same mindset, however ingenious, are likely to provoke unforeseeable further damaging consequences. The turn to the Julian texts is made on the grounds that the revelatory encounters described therein transform the subjectivity of Julian (as she is found in the text; the thesis makes no claim regarding the historical Julian) and have the potential to transform the reader’s subjectivity in turn. This potential of the Julian texts is discovered through an innovative hermeneutical approach using Ricoeurian foundations with additional interdisciplinary insights and analogies, hence ‘post-Ricoeurian’. The approach describes the act of reading as ‘performative engagement’, involving ‘porosity of encounter’ and ‘niche creation’. A close reading of the Julian texts using this triadic post-Ricoeurian lens is undertaken, seeking to demonstrate that such a reading renders them capable of springing the trap of Gestell by restoring the porosity of the reader’s subjectivity. The thesis argues that restoring porosity is Julian’s contribution to the ecological crisis, in addition acknowledging that choosing Julian as a route to freedom generates or regenerates a recognition of the sacred in creation.
Supervisor: Schumacher, Lydia Ann Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available