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The crisis of the Arab critic: ʽAbdullah al-Ghadhāmī as case study

Alzahrani, Adel Khamis (2014) The crisis of the Arab critic: ʽAbdullah al-Ghadhāmī as case study. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This study examines the crisis of the Arab critic at the present time; it focuses on the works of the Saudi critic ʽAbdullah al-Ghadhāmī as a case study. The function of criticism has always been affected by political and cultural developments; critics have constantly adapted their role in order to maintain their credibility as intellectual leaders of society. However, this role has been recently called into question by global changes. This research examines the critic’s anxiety about these transformations; cultural criticism provides a lifeline that helps critics to address daily-life issues and engage with reality. However, the situation in the Arab world is complicated; the cultural dilemmas of the Arabs have long affected their development. In this context, Arab intellectuals have lost their role, being no longer able to influence and lead change; political reaction and social rejection have made them exiles in their own homeland. This study investigates the mechanism that rendered the discourse of modern Arabic criticism socially ineffective. Al-Ghadhāmī’s intellectual career, the study argues, illustrates the crisis of the Arab critic; his critique, in line with changes in social and political circumstances, can be divided into three distinct periods: the early works of the 1980s show his great enthusiasm for modernising the critical discourse by embracing modern structuralist and post-structuralist theories. Nevertheless, the efforts made by al-Ghadhāmī and his fellow modernists were crushed by the Islamic movement al-Ṣaḥwa al-Islāmiyya, which was given a virtually free hand to dominate Saudi society. The effect of this defeat is evident in al-Ghadhāmī’s works of the second period; he adopts a moderate position, from which he tries to revive the heritage and question it at the same time. However, this attempt does not last long; the third period begins with al-Ghadhāmī’s dramatic announcement of the death of literary criticism, urging his fellow critics to replace it with cultural criticism. This radical proposal is the most extreme of al-Ghadhāmī’s reactions to the crisis of the Arab critic.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
ISBN: 978-0-85731-839-8
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Leeds CMS
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2015 15:22
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2015 15:22
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7812

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