Marxism_and_Alienation_in_Fyodor_Dostoyevsky0801

Marxism_and_Alienation_in_Fyodor_Dostoyevsky0801 -...

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Raskolnikov Speaks Today: Marxism and Alienation in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment and the implications for Business Ethics Education by Kieran James (USQ), Susan P. Briggs (University of South Australia) and Eunice M. James (South Fremantle Senior High School) Abstract In this paper we explore main themes in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s great existentialist nineteenth-century Russian novel Crime and Punishment . We accept the traditional existentialist and Russian Orthodox interpretations of the novel’s themes but we also argue that the actions of the novel’s main character, the unemployed young student Raskolnikov, contain within them a Marxist critique of the corrupting power of wealth (in the sense that Terry Eagleton uses the term ‘Marxist critique’). Raskolnikov reveals the contradictions and selfish motives behind the actions of outwardly respectable aristocrats in the novel. Existentially Raskolnikov recreates himself anew through his actions. We argue that the complex social consciousness of Raskolnikov, where he is a living critique of the established society without being seemingly outwardly a ‘political person’, makes him an eternal type that we may encounter again in our post-modern accounting classrooms. This suggests that, to avoid the 24/7 ‘Raskolnikov gaze’ as educators today, we must join him in recreating ourselves by helping the less fortunate and exploited. By studying Dostoyevsky in business ethics classes we will do our business students a great service as they can be introduced, through the character of Raskolnikov, to the existential concept of recreating oneself through positive action and helping others. 1
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Keywords : alienation, business ethics, Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky, ethics education, existentialism, Marxism, Russian literature, Russian Orthodox Church, Sartre. This paper has been accepted for publication in International Journal of Critical Accounting . 1. Introduction “It is childish to think that bourgeois belle-lettres can make a breach in class solidarity. What the workers will take from Shakespeare, Goethe, Pushkin, or Dostoyevsky will be a more complex idea of human personality, of its passions and feelings…. In the final analysis, the worker will become richer” (Leon Trotsky, Literature and Revolution , 2005, p. 184). “Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday/ Who could hang a name on you?/ When you change with every new day/ Still I’m going to miss you” (The Rolling Stones, “Ruby Tuesday”, 1967). Carmona and Ezzamel (2007) and Hardy et al. (2007) have suggested that more writing and research in future should be directed at gaining an understanding of how accounting is embedded in its various social contexts and how it is involved in the construction of values and of the self. Hardy et al. (2007) state that: “Hoskin and Macve (1986, 1994), Maltby (1997), Jacobs (2005), and Aho (2005) have challenged this secularising and functionalist approach towards 2
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accounting and have illustrated the strong links between practices of accounting and core social or religious values”.
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