Dialogicality in Development

Dialogicality in Development

Dialogicality in Development

Dialogicality in Development


Dialogue/dialogicality is presented as the most productive concept to conceptualize developmental processes.


In this chapter I will neither praise nor “sell” the notion of dialogue and dialogicality. This might be unusual for an introduction to a book about dialogue and dialogicality, edited by myself. What I prefer to do here is to put the notion of dialogue to a critical test—acting more as the devil's advocate than as a “member of the club.” After a critical inspection of the multiplicity of meanings of dialogue and dialogicality, I will propose a conceptual analysis of the constituents of (among potential others) a dialogical approach. Thus, I introduce this book through an explicit non-introduction, which perfectly fits with the dialogical model outlined below, in which opposites play a major role in the construction of psychological phenomena.

The triple face of dialogue

Dialogue is a confusing term, resulting from its inherent “multivoicedness” and “polyphony”: It can refer to (1) concrete phenomena (for instance, interpersonal or intrapersonal conversations); (2) formal models of mapping psychological and non-psychological (e.g., linguistic) phenomena (known as dialogicality or dialogism); or (3) metaphorical analogies to frame psychological phenomena, with the two latter versions often being intermingled. All three ways to conceptualize dialogue, however, are far from consistent in themselves.

Researchers from various disciplines who deal with dialogue as a phenomenon do not agree whether (and if so, how) “dialogue” refers to anything different than related terms, such as verbal exchange, talk, discourse, conversation, communication, or interaction, among others. and . . .

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