Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/8816
Title: Towards the Therapeutic and the Political: Giddens, Habermas and a Theory of the Agent
Contributor(s): Fabre, Leslie Aubrey (author); Lucich, Peter (supervisor); Pandey, Uma (supervisor); Thiele, Steven J (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 1999
Copyright Date: 1995
Open Access: Yes
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/8816
Abstract: It is the argument of this thesis that: (i) when Giddens and Habermas shifted away from the agent they left that agent without the conceptual provision that would enable it to respond to their therapeutic and political concerns about modernity, and (ii) the transformative and healing capacity of the agent can be restored via a synthesis and development of their ideas, and in a manner that allows for the addressing of their emancipatory concerns. I demonstrate that Giddens's and Habermas's attempts to reconstruct the project of modernity are biased in favour of metatheory and sensitising concepts; that they therefore disconnect the transformative and healing agent from systems in everyday life; and that this disconnection is an unintended outcome of the immanent logic of each project. When the agent is excluded conceptually as a significant participant, then the whole project of emancipation is put in jeopardy. Nevertheless, I also show that each theory has the latent capacity both to re-connect the empirical agent and to clarify the social processes and mechanisms that integrate the agent with interaction and system. Using Bhaskar's critical naturalism as a supporting philosophical resource, I propose a synthesis of concepts from structuration theory and communicative rationality for overcoming their deficiencies in relation to pragmatic agency and emancipation. The realist model of the nature and process of agency that I explore here, or Knowledgeability-Communicative Competence theory, seeks to understand structures and mechanisms that underpin interaction in the social life of late modernity. It seeks to hypothesis the mutually interpretive steps that direct interaction (more particularly moral/ethical action) and their optional outcomes. This suggested model of the transforming and healing agent(s) is claimed to be more enabling of therapeutic and political interventions in late modern or 'risk' society.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Rights Statement: Copyright 1995 - Leslie Aubrey Fabre
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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