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DELC Research Seminar by Robert Crawshaw
Date: 27 October 2010 Time: 5.00 pm
Venue: Bowland North Seminar Room 16
DELC Research Seminar Series 2010-11: Transnational - Transcultural - Global? in collaboration with Dynamics of Memory.
Robert Crawshaw (Lancaster University): 'Reflections on the relationship between sociology and literature: a dialogic analysis of SuAndi's The Story of M'.
In this paper, I revisit some approaches to the sociological analysis of literature and consider their implications for the way we read literary text. The hermeneutic principle, originally developed by Auerbach (1953) and Spitzer (1948ff) and subsequently exemplified by Stierle (1993/2001) following Benjamin (1938) implies that literature can be seen as a mimetic prism which, through its salient stylistic features, illuminates moments of cultural change. It thereby becomes critically defensible to make generalised assumptions about social reality from the 'evidence' of literary text. An analogous approach has been followed in more recent studies of black literature in post-war Britain such as that of Procter (2003). My paper explores a more socio-linguistically grounded alternative, ultimately inspired by Bakhtin (1928/1981) and Volosinov (1929?/1973) and admirably illustrated by Thibault (1991) in which all discourses, literary or otherwise, are seen as inter-subjective, provisional and context-dependent. Sociological conclusions can only be derived from texts' discursive inter-relationship with each other when these are analysed from the perspective of their narrative structure or framing, the ways they position actors, events and interlocutors and the internal logico-syntactic patterns which define their 'codes'. The paper considers the methodological implications of this approach with reference to The Story of 'M', an auto-biographical text by SuAndi, a leading Manchester-born British performance poet.
The DELC Research Seminar Series invites contributions that explore the tension between the national and the cultural, and that analyse manifestations of the 'trans', 'inter' and 'post' in the context of these categories. We invite speakers and audiences to question whether Cultural and Area Studies need to move beyond 'inter' and 'trans' and if so, if this 'beyond' is characterized by a post-national and post-cultural 'global'. The exploration of the intersection between politics, policy, and academic analysis and theory - as a reaction to existing processes, or as one of several elements of intervention - forms part of this debate.
Who can attend: Anyone
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