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Ian Reid’s Narrative Exchanges argues against older formalist and structuralist approaches to narratology, from Propp to Todorov. They reduced the play of narrative by insisting that texts possess an underlying fundamental ground, a ‘basic unity’ that is the ‘primary constituent of narrative’. Structuralism treats texts as self-contained semiotic systems, emphasising consistency, linearity, interlinked sequences, completion. Structuralists exhibit a ‘compulsion’ to order and classify texts in rigid, invariable, almost algebraic ways.

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Teacher Learning edited by Gwyneth Dow & Melbourne Studies in Education 1982 edited by Stephen Murray-Smith

October 1983, no. 55

Gwyneth Dow has edited a collection of essays that forms a relevant and coherent whole. The authors seek to salvage what they see as ‘the good things’ in education reform of the late sixties and early seventies, reform that had weaknesses which were the result of ‘faulty thinking, poor social analysis, romantic psychological theories, slip-shod pedagogy’. The contributors to this book are Rory Barnes, Gwyneth Dow, Rod Foster, Noel P. Gough, Bill Hannan, and Doug White. Gwyneth Dow points out they do not all share the same ideological positions, but they are clearly in fundamental agreement about curriculum reform, a more democratic approach to teaching and to the running of schools, and a more socially aware view of teaching and teacher education.

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Literary theory is in for an exciting time in Australia. While the Leavisites in the older English departments were wondering what happened to the British ‘Great Tradition’, literary studies went General and Comparative in the 1960s, establishing a fertile context for the development of genuine theoretical developments such as those brought about by the encounter with structuralism, phenomenology and Marxism.

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