The Dialogical Self: Toward a Theory of Personal and Cultural Positioning

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Culture & Psychology, 2001, 7, 243-281

Abstract

The dialogical self proposes a far-reaching decentralization of both the concept of self and the concept ofculture. At the intersection between the psychology of the self in the tradition of William James and the dialogical school in the tradition of Mikhail Bakhtin, the proposed view challenges both the idea of a core, essential self and the idea of a core, essential culture. In apparent contradiction with such a view, the present viewpoint proposes to conceive self and culture as a multiplicityof positions among which dialogical relationships can be established.

Particular attention is paid to collective voices, domination and asymmetry of social relations, and embodied forms of dialogue. Cultures and selves are seen as moving and mixing and as increasingly sensitive to travel and translocality.

Three perspectives for future research of self and culture are briefly discussed: the shifting attention from core to contact zones;increasing complexity; and the experience of uncertainty. Read more in this PDF.