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DIY Morality: Stories from the Australian Blogosphere

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Hookway, N (2011) DIY Morality: Stories from the Australian Blogosphere. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This thesis is about how contemporary morality is understood and constructed by a group of Australian bloggers. Its central argument is that the bloggers depict morality as an actively created, non-conforming and autonomous do-it-yourself project, configured in different variations of self-responsibility, bodily encounter, emotion, feeling and ideals of ‘being-true-to-yourself’. The thesis challenges the moral ‘decline’ arguments of ‘communitarian’ and ‘cultural pessimist’ theorists whose views on morality are rooted in Durkheimian assumptions concerning the egoistic tendencies of human nature and the need for authoritative social structures. Drawing upon the work of Bauman (1993), Foucault (1986), Taylor (1992), Ahmed (2000) and Irigaray (1991), the thesis argues that these perspectives ignore the ethical significance of self, body, emotions and ideals of authenticity. The study is based on a qualitative analysis of 44 Australian blogs combined with 25 online in-depth interviews. The empirical data points to the self as the central site for the construction of morality, and shows how this applies across the spectrum of religious beliefs. The thesis examines how this operates in two spheres of moral action: love and intimacy, and human–animal relations. Love is argued to be an important moral space in which reflexive questioning of ‘Am I a good person?’ and ‘Did I do the right thing?’ are important in the context of ‘breaking up and ‘moving on’. On the other hand, stories of human–animal relations reveal animals as significant ethical Others that speak not only to ‘particular’ moral relations with the ‘non-human’ but also with ‘ourselves’. The thesis concludes by suggesting that DIY moral forms provide powerful moral ideals that operate outside prevailing models of ‘narcissism’ and ‘community breakdown’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Copyright © the Author
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2012 06:31
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:29
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/12939
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