© 2003 – Routledge
The field of composition theory has emerged as part of the intellectual turmoil and set of pedagogical debates which have beset higher education for the last four decades and is now revolutionizing the theory and praxis of higher education.
This volume examines three of the dominant pedagogical theories within composition theory: expressivist, cognitivist, and social-constructivist and builds its critique on the fact that much of modern composition theory has focused on epistemological concerns while neglecting the ontological foundations of that which is being discussed.
Critical Realism and Composition Theory offers an alternative approach to teaching composition. This problem-oriented alternative is designed to lead students beyond the abstract, contemplative description of a problem to an expanded understanding that shows that concerns for justice cannot be addressed intellectually without at the same time confronting the practical constraints that limiting powers of social institutions play in both defining a problem and its social solution.
Critical Realism is a broad movement within philosophy and social science. It is a movement that began in British philosophy and sociology following the founding work of Roy Bhaskar, Margaret Archer and others. Critical Realism emerged from the desire to realise an adequate realist philosophy of science, social science, and of critique. Against empiricism, positivism and various idealisms (interpretivism, radical social constructionism), Critical Realism argues for the necessity of ontology. The pursuit of ontology is the attempt to understand and say something about ‘the things themselves’ and not simply about our beliefs, experiences, or our current knowledge and understanding of those things. Critical Realism also argues against the implicit ontology of the empiricists and idealists of events and regularities, reducing reality to thought, language, belief, custom, or experience. Instead Critical Realism advocates a structural realist and causal powers approach to natural and social ontology, with a focus upon social relations and process of social transformation.
Important movements within Critical Realism include the morphogenetic approach developed by Margaret Archer; Critical Realist economics developed by Tony Lawson; as well as dialectical Critical Realism (embracing being, becoming and absence) and the philosophy of metaReality (emphasising priority of the non-dual) developed by Roy Bhaskar.
For over thirty years, Routledge has been closely associated with Critical Realism and, in particular, the work of Roy Bhaskar, publishing well over fifty works in, or informed by, Critical Realism (in series including Critical Realism: Interventions; Ontological Explorations; New Studies in Critical Realism and Education). These have all now been brought together under one series dedicated to Critical Realism.
The Centre for Critical Realism is the advisory editorial board for the series. If you would like to know more about the Centre for Critical Realism, or to submit a book proposal, please visit www.centreforcriticalrealism.com.