Making noises: contextualising the politics of Rorty’s neopragmatism to assess its sustainability

Mitchell, Euan Wallace (2005) Making noises: contextualising the politics of Rorty’s neopragmatism to assess its sustainability. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This creative thesis is written in two parts: Volume 1 is a novel and Volume 2 is the accompanying exegesis which explains the process of contextualising a school of philosophy’s politics within the novel. These volumes combine to build a new window onto contemporary theoretical debate regarding the sustainability of so-called liberal democracy. Volume 1, the novel, provides a fictionalised account of federal government involvement with the popular music industry in Australia during the 1990s. The story is told from the point of view of a newcomer to a music industry organisation funded by the federal government called the ‘Oz Rock Foundation’. This organisation is run by a former federal politician who maintains close links with his political colleagues still in government. When the newcomer discovers a young Aboriginal prisoner with exceptional musical talents, the former politician seizes this opportunity to help launch the Oz Rock Foundation in the ‘Year of the Indigenous Person’. This venture, however, has unexpected consequences which emerge as the story develops. Volume 2, the exegesis, employs a narrative framework to explain the process by which an analysis of philosopher Richard Rorty’s version of neopragmatism fed into the creation of the novel. Political issues raised by neopragmatism are thematically linked to fictional contexts informed by the history of government experimentation with the Australian music industry. The process is guided by questions designed to assess whether a neopragmatic version of liberal democracy is sustainable in this form. The novel is further shaped by its attempt to extend a particular tradition, within the genre of the political novel, that contextualises themes related to ‘natural rights’ as the foundation of liberal democracy. The exegesis, in its discussion of issues raised by the completed novel, then draws on existing research into the sustainability of democracy in order to synthesise an overall perspective. NOTE: Due to copyright arrangements with the publisher of Making Noises, the text of the novel (Volume 1) is not available as part of the digital version of this thesis. The novel was published in November 2006 by OverDog Press (Melbourne, Australia). The ISBN is: 9780975797921

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 360000 Policy and Political Science
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Communication and the Arts
Historical > RFCD Classification > 440000 Philosophy and Religion
Keywords Richard Rorty, Rorty, neopragmatism, pragmatism, relativism, Making Noises, Euan Mitchell, Mitchell, music, music industry, Australian music industry, Australia, indigenous music, fiction, instrumentalism, William James, James, Pete Steedman, Steedman, 1990s, Ausmusic, Charles Sanders Peirce, Peirce, pragmatic, correspondence theory, pragmatic theory, John Dewey, Dewey, natural right, natural rights, democracy, liberalism, liberal democracy, public, private, contingency, irony, solidarity, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, postmodernism, post-modernism, relativist, neopragmatist, Bob Hawke, Hawke, Paul Keating, Keating, philosophy, creative writing, interdisciplinary, neo-pragmatism, sustainability, Stanford University, Victoria University
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