Speech genres and experience: Mikhail Bakhtin and an embodied cultural psychology

  • Author / Creator
    Cresswell, James
  • Theorists who endeavor to take sociality seriously have made substantial strides, but the phenomenological immediacy of experience has not been well explored or sufficiently addressed. This dissertation proposes an approach to cultural psychology that accounts for such experience. It addresses how authors such as Hubert Hermans, James Wertsch, Ken Gergen, Derek Edwards, and Jonathan Potter have tended to propose visions of cultural psychology that do not do justice to such experience, partly because they have different analytic interests. Regardless, there is a need in current theorizing in cultural psychology to address culturally orchestrated action in a way that includes experience. This dissertation attempts to address this need. To provide an alternative view on cultural psychology, this dissertation turns to the Russian thinker, Mikhail Bakhtin, and his notion of speech genres. The inherent sociality of embodied experience that is part of Bakhtin’s notion of speech genres is presented in contrast to the views of above-mentioned authors. This work presents a view of Bakhtin’s discussion of realism in relation to experience and sociality. This discussion leads to an alternative sociocultural understanding of individual agency that is central to the ontogenetic development of selfhood. The discussion then progresses to examine what Bakhtin can contribute to a psychology embroiled in postmodernism. Where self has been treated as socially constructed and changeable – such that notions like faithfulness to oneself, which is generally thought to belong in the domain of a true core self, are rendered futile – Bakhtin offers a view of embodied self that both requires and clarifies these notions. The proposed alternative concludes by addressing how research could be conducted for those interested in extending the proposed cultural psychology in an empirical direction.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
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  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Matusov, Eugene (Education)
    • Noels, Kimberly (Psychology)
    • Mos, Leendert (Psychology)
    • Varnhagen, Connie (Psychology)
    • Shields, Rob (Sociology)