Knowledge without legislation? : the changing role of the intellectual in an era of pluralism.
Thesis DisciplineAmerican Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Writers across a wide range of disciplines within the humanities and the social sciences claim that we now live in a postmodern age characterised by the demise of the basic tenets of modernism. These writers contend that this postmodern age is marked by a profound sense of uncertainty. Out of this uncertainty has emerged what many theorists view as a radical 'crisis of authority' for the contemporary intellectual. Subsequently, a debate has ensued as to whether this 'crisis' has sounded the death knoll for the modem legislative intellectual or has merely led to a cosmetic rearrangement of authoritative discourses within the academy. This thesis acknowledges that there has been, at the very least, a general problematisation of conventional approaches to knowledge. At the same time it questions whether this so-called postmodern shift in the conceptualisation of knowledge offers an approach conducive to a radical politics of emancipation. With these issues in mind, I examine the claims of three 'interpretive' or postmodern theorists . I suggest that the pluralist affirmation of difference proposed by these writers may represent a new cultural 'logic' no less repressive than its modernist predecessor.