Discerning The Subject (Theory and History of Literature)

Discerning The Subject (Theory and  History of Literature)

English | Mar. 1, 1988 | ISBN: 0816616396 | 224 Pages | PDF | 18.8 MB

In the past few decades writers in the humanities and the human sciences have increasingly exploited the term the "subject". In some instances the "subject" will appear to be synonymous with "individual". In others - for example, in psychoanalytic discourse - it will take on a more specialized meaning and refer to the "self". Or again, the "subject" might be the object of social and historical forces and determinations.
"Discerning the Subject" is a rigorous, lucid critique of the debates on the status of the "subject" - debates that take in but range far beyond the writings of Althusser, the psychoanalytic writings of Lacan, and the philosophical work of Derrida. What begins as a thorough analysis of the ways various disciplines theorize the "subject", betimes develops into a provocative consideration of the relations among critical theory, human agency, and social resistance.
Smith argues that many theorists of the "subject" routinely deny the possibility of human agency and the subject's resistance to the pressures of the ideological. He rejects many of the currently fashionable notions of the subjectivity - including the poststructuralist "decentered subject" - as flawed or incomplete and calls instead for a view of the "subject" which will allow for genuine political and social action.

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