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What are we to make of Bakhtin? Nearly 20 years after his death, the full richness of his ideas has still not been digested. For many people working in the sicial sciences, he remains a mysterious and impenetrable writer. Many are conscious that his ideas are relevant for sociology and cultural studies, but would be hard pressed to give chapter and verse. Others regard Bakhtin as a figure who contributed to the literary and philologic fields of study. This accessible and thoughtful text aims to demonstrate the relevance of Bakhtin to the human sciences. It argues that most of the current literature has been characterized by a superficial appropriation of Bakhtinian ideas and neologisms. What has been neglected is a serious engagement with his core ...

Bakhtinian Perspectives on ‘Everyday Life’ Sociology
Bakhtinian perspectives on ‘everyday life’ sociology
CourtneyBender

Most American sociologists employing Bakhtin's theories draw on his discussions of language and discourse (DiMaggio, 1997; Higginbotham, 1993; Steinberg, 1993). To date, however, few have noted how Bakhtin's theories of dialogue and heteroglossia depend on his understanding of everyday life that he developed early in his career (Gardiner, 1996; Shields, 1996) and sustained throughout, even as he turned his focus to literary topics (Morson and Emerson, 1990). Bakhtin's earliest existing work, Toward a Philosophy of the Act (1993) is apparently the introduction to a lost essay devoted to the ethics of the act written between 1919 and 1924. In it, Bakhtin outlines a theory that locates ethical actions within everyday events, situating the ethical moment ...

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