The alterity of the imagination : the effects of John Ruskin's imaginative usage of classical sources on his participation within the politico-economic discourse

Eddington, Ross Elliot. (1999). The alterity of the imagination : the effects of John Ruskin's imaginative usage of classical sources on his participation within the politico-economic discourse PhD Thesis, School of Political Science and International Studies, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Eddington, Ross Elliot.
Thesis Title The alterity of the imagination : the effects of John Ruskin's imaginative usage of classical sources on his participation within the politico-economic discourse
School, Centre or Institute School of Political Science and International Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1999
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr April Carter
Total pages 310
Language eng
Subjects 430112 Biography
349901 Political Economy
Formatted abstract
This dissertation examines John Ruskin's critique of orthodox political economy, and his socio-economic theory related to this critique. In particular, the thesis examines the effectiveness and value of the 'imaginative' voice he used in this critique through an examination of the imaginative nature of his interpretation of classical sources to support his socio- and politico-economic theory. I draw on and develop elements of the philosophy of Michael Oakeshott in establishing the concept of different modes of experience, in order to argue that Ruskin is using and interpreting his classical sources from an imaginative mode of experience. Therefore it is also a dissertation examining the dialogic problem arising from the conflict between different modes of experience and how far voices of subordinate alterity (difference) can influence social discourses which may be dominated by one voice. I am interested in exploring whether it is possible for different modes of experience to communicate effectively with each other in social discourse communities. This exploration is examined in the context of Ruskin's 'imaginative' voice attempting to participate within a rationalist scientific discourse of political economy.

There are several levels at which this dissertation seeks to make an original contribution. The first contribution I am seeking to make is to demonstrate that Ruskin manifests a distinct preference for, and belief in the superiority, of the imaginative faculty. As a result of the Oakeshottian theory used, I argue that Ruskin is in fact using and interpreting his classical sources from an imaginative mode of experience. Establishing Ruskin's source usage as operating from an imaginative mode of experience enables a defence of the value of Ruskin's critical imaginative voice, based on the abstracted and limited nature of all modes of experience. An understanding of Ruskin's imaginative modal position (in terms of his source interpretation) can also provide an explanation for the ineffectiveness of Ruskin's direct impact upon the politico-economic debate, which is termed his modal dialogic problem. The second contribution I make is to provide new evidence with regard to the effect and nature of classical influence upon the thought of Ruskin, and to provide an analysis of all his classical sources and demonstrating Ruskin's perception of each individual source. The third contribution I seek to make is to explore the extent to which Ruskin was successful in having his politico-economic concerns heard and acted upon within the field of orthodox political economy (as well as broader social discourse). I provide an explanation arguing that a process called 'secondary counter-discourse' was able to translate and transfer Ruskin's imaginative mode of experience into a voice acceptable to the prevailing politico-economic discourse, through the medium of a third author.

I argue that voices of critical but subordinate alterity are most likely to be successful against a dominant rationalist discourse when their value is recognised, adopted (and adapted), and translated by an individual translator situated within the dominant discourse. This claim is built on the assumption that individuals within a discourse remain fundamentally polyglot creatures, open to the influence of multiple modes of experience. Although secondary counter-discourse is a slower process than primary counter-discourse, it remains the more effective means of arriving at change within a dominant discourse. This dissertation is working from a standpoint concerned with protecting voices of alterity as valuable critical contributors to political discourses.

Keyword Ruskin, John, 1819-1900 -- Political and social views.
Ruskin, John, 1819-1900 -- Knowledge -- Classical literature.
Ruskin, John, 1819-1900 -- Criticism and interpretation.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
 
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Created: Tue, 26 Oct 2010, 09:29:50 EST by Ms Natalie Hull on behalf of Social Sciences and Humanities Library Service