Negotiating modernity : Habermas and the International Township of Auroville, India
Leard, Stuart R
The International Township of Auroville was inaugurated as an international experiment in Human Unity on the southeast coast of India in 1968. My research on Auroville constitutes a case study of collective decision-making. Coding extracts from the weekly internal newsletters of the Township 1975 to 2000 in the qualitative software program, NVivo, I reconstruct features of decision-making in the township which I argue form implicit agreements on principles of organization. Illocutionary action, the effort to reach mutual understanding, underscores each of these principles. Illocutionary action is the building block of Jurgen Habermas’ Theory of Communicative Action and his Discourse Ethics. Because of the correspondence between decision-making in Auroville and the formulations of Jurgen Habermas, I apply key dimensions of Habermas’ theory to developments in the township in order to identify the practical consequences of adherence to the primacy Habermas pays to illocutionary action. In this way, I submit his theory to practical test. Contrary to the theoretical expectations of Habermas, decision-making characteristic of lifeworld continues to play a role in steering the systems developed to facilitate the expansion of the Auroville Township.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorDickinson, Harley D.
Copyright DateApril 2011