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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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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
Authors/Creators:Hookway, N
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Copyright 2011 the Author

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