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Theorizing Adaptation$
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Kamilla Elliott

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197511176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197511176.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 June 2021

Rethinking Theoretical Principles

Rethinking Theoretical Principles

(p.223) 7 Rethinking Theoretical Principles
Theorizing Adaptation

Kamilla Elliott

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 examines how and why adaptation resists theorization at its third stage: the development of theoretical principles. Unlike most discussions of adaptation in relation to theoretical principles, the purpose of this chapter is not to adjudicate which principles are truest or best for adaptation, nor to generate new principles to govern adaptation, but to probe the relationship between the principles of theorization and the principles of adaptation. The principles of what theorization is and should do in the humanities have been extensively canvassed and debated; the principles of adaptation have been rarely addressed. Chapter 7 makes a small start on redressing that imbalance. It begins by considering humanities’ theorization’s preoccupation with truth by contrast to how little adaptation has been concerned with truth. It continues by pondering why the humanities have struggled more than the social sciences and sciences to theorize adaptation and what we can learn from their less problematic relations to adaptation. The lesson from the sciences is not to become more systematic, categorical, positivist, or objectivist but to learn from them not to fear our subject matter’s challenges to our theoretical principles and to theorize more experimentally, freely, and creatively, even at the risk of failure and error. It concludes by proposing what principles of adaptation might look like and by pondering how these principles might talk back to theoretical principles and how they might reach across the diasporic field that is adaptation studies to develop it through dialogue and debate over what the principles of adaptation are and how they challenge the theoretical principles that have been levied on adaptation.

Keywords:   adaptation theory, theoretical principles, adaptation principles, deductive and inductive theorization, theorization and truth, humanities theorization and theology

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