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Intellectual Narratives

Theory, History and Self-Characterization of Social Margins in Public Writings

Alex Ching-Shing Chan

This book aims to study the intellectual lives of three Hong Kong intellectuals by narrating their lives as self-reflections on theories related to social margins. Drawing on insights from Paul Ricoeur, Hannah Arendt and Zygmunt Bauman, the author analyses their narratives through in-depth interviews. Their stories point to an interpretative understanding of the works they had cursorily read when creating their historical narrations of Hong Kong from the 1970s to 2003. These stories of individual intellectuals, together with their interpretations of what they have individually read about various western theories, challenge theoretical prescriptions of historical contingent events in their narration. Such narration unfolds self-characterizations of intellectuals the author interviewed, and represents a neglected social marginal which demands that immediate attention in the public through their intellectual writings.


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References 203


203 REFERENCES Chapter 1: Introduction: Intellectual Narratives as Historical Inquires and Life Refl ections 1. The argument I have made is not theoretical, but is, in fact, based on historical evidence. Ron Eyerman and Andrew Jamison illustrated their theorization of ‘cognitive praxis’ by studying the creative prac- tice of gathering black people together by means of black spirituals in order to mobilize the blacks in the South during the American Civil Rights Movement. Historians are familiar with the Luddite move- ments in England, when Ned Ludd and his fellow craftsmen organized rallies and broke machines in public to provoke public discontent over the disorganization of the guild system. One can also think of a contemporary example: radical feminists burnt their bras in public, using the slogan ‘No Bras’, during the American women’s liberation movement; they also protested against sporadic consumption, which had connotations of male domination. For the American Civil Rights Movement, please consult Ron Eyerman and Andrew Jamison, Social Movements: A Cognitive Approach (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991), Ch. 5. See also Ron Eyerman and Andrew Jamison, Music and Social Movements (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). The other way of examining this issue is what Castoriadis calls the ‘social imaginary’, which goes beyond any historical progress in the ‘produc- tion logic’ of advanced capitalism that arrests our imagined alterna- tives. Cf. Axel Honneth, ‘Rescuing the Revolution with an Ontology: On Cornelius Castoriadis’ Theory of Society’, The Fragmented World of the Social: Essays in Social and Political Philosophy, ed. Charles W....

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