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Durham e-Theses
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Thought styles and culture: all analysis of texts

Lidchi, Victoria Gabrielle (1990) Thought styles and culture: all analysis of texts. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The thesis is an analysis of the nature and characteristics of French and English "thought styles" - named rationalism and empiricism respectively. Although the term is reminiscent of one used by the German sociologist of knowledge, Mannheim, the thesis develops a model of the styles with the help of Moscovici's (1985) idea of social representation and Bourdieu's (1979) idea of the internalization of social structure. Thought styles thus emerge not as sui generis phenomena, but as distilled from culturally specific thought-environment complexes, The thesis argues that contrasting socio-political substructures are crucial to the genesis of the different thought-environment complexes and thus of the distinct thought-styles, The two thought styles are Isolated in their Ideal typical form (Weber 1949), and the point is made that they are most commonly encountered as basic designs or "motifs". The nature and characteristics of the rationalist and empiricist thought- styles are seen through a series of examples drawn from the Arts, the Sciences and the Human Sciences. The model of the two distinct thought styles thus developed is applied to recent socio-historical literature on madness, More specifically, the model is useful to the understanding of how the writings of theorists as such as Sartre and Foucault have been assimilated into the Anglo-Saxon tradition. A series of preliminary interviews with French and English students suggests that the model of thought styles may be applicable to the spoken explanations used by members of the two academic communities, as well as written academic texts. The final chapter shows how the differences in thought and expression, attributed to the French and English thought-styles, are perpetuated by educational systems which are the product of different socio-political contexts,

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1990
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Dec 2012 12:14

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