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‘In broken images’: Difference and emancipation within the communal process of social inquiry

De Reuck, J. (2008) ‘In broken images’: Difference and emancipation within the communal process of social inquiry. English Academy Review, 25 (1). pp. 20-28.

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Using an oppositional figure derived from Robert Graves' poem, ‘In broken images’, as a heuristic device, this article explores the clash between dogmatic methodologies on the one hand and liberating methodologies on the other in order to expose as unproductive an opposition that arraigns the political discourses of ‘truth’ against the literary discourses of justification. In doing so the article locates the tension between an aesthetic orientation in the study of literature and that, particularly in postcolonial studies, which has gained critical ascendancy: namely a material or political orientation in the study of literature. In order to minimize the marginalization of so‐called‘art talk’ (Chapman 2006. Art Talk, Politics Talk.) when confronted by the ‘real politik’ of ‘politics talk’ I argue that these two apparently antagonistic discourses are essentially part of a single, ordered discourse that, if allowed to achieve its full potential, advances through continual self‐correction to an ever‐deepening emancipation of the species. I suggest, further, a program for the recovery (or recuperation) of aesthetics in the study and analysis of literary discourse so that we can begin the reconfiguration of what I take to be at present a self‐defeating agenda. What I argue for is a project that embraces difference and which seeks to locate the emancipatory potential of the individual within the communal process of social inquiry.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Routledge as part of the Taylor and Francis Group
Copyright: © 2008 The English Academy of Southern Africa
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