This study uses a narrative analytic approach to explore the similarities and differences between pre-Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment firsthand accounts of madness in order to answer the question; what is the relationship between madness, narrative, understanding, identity and recovery? Drawing on the work of Foucault, the research traces the historical and cultural development of conceptualisations of reason and unreason, the rise of psychiatry and the marginalisation of the voice of madness. I argue that this marginalisation is continued in narrative research where the focus is on the stories of the physically ill, rather than madness. The narrative method provides a means of giving space to these marginalised voices and it is Bakhtin¿s constructs of dialogicism, polyphony, unfinalizability and the chronotope that provide the tools for the narrative analysis of two female English writers; Margery Kempe and Mary Barnes. The analysis highlights three critical issues in relation to firsthand narratives of madness. First, the blurred boundaries between madness and mysticism and the role of metaphor in understanding distressing experiences. Second, the complex, multi-dimensional nature of subjective timespace that challenges the linear assumptions underlying both narrative and recovery, which, I argue, demands a radical reconceptualisation of both constructs. Third, the liminal social positioning within the analysed accounts is closely related to Bakhtin¿s notion of unfinalizability, a form of being that enables the search for meaning and the transformation of the self. Insights can be gained from this research that may place stories and understanding central in contemporary healthcare.
Daisaku Ikeda is the Buddhist leader of one of the most visible religious movements
today, the Soka Gakkai International (SGI). In this thesis, the main research question
concerns the peace philosophy of Ikeda and its contribution to peace theory.
Daisaku Ikeda and the SGI have been the subject of several scholarly studies in the
fields of religious history and sociology. The focus of this research is on the significance
of Ikeda's contributions in the field of peace studies, where his work has not yet been
the subject of systematic investigation.
It is argued that the originality of Ikeda's philosophy of peace resides in two main
elements. First, the starting point is consistently human life and its potential for peace
and happiness, not the omnipresence of conflict. Second, he offers a coherent system
linking the individual, dialogical and global levels, which can be represented as a
triangle made of three conceptual frameworks, that of Humanistic Psychology (Human
Revolution), Communicative Rationality (Dialogue) and Cosmopolitan Democracy
It is also argued that while being inspired by Ikeda's Buddhist spirituality and his
loyalty to his mentor Josei Toda, this secular humanist approach to peace offers an
effective and original way for all people to participate in the construction of a better
world, regardless of their religious or ideological affiliation, social background or
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