• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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 ideas and a sustained reflection on their implications for social and cultural theory. The book aims to extend Bakhtin's ideas into the mainstream social sciences and to reconsider Bakhtin as a social thinker, not just as a literary theorist. The contributors have diverse backgrounds in the social and human sciences. The contributions are organized around the four main themes in Bakhtin's work: dialogics, carnivals, conversations, and ethics and everyday life. The book is equipped with a lively introduction that discusses the importance of Bakhtin as a major intellectual figure and attempts to situate his ideas in current theoretical trends and developments. Suggestive, accurate, and insightful, this book will be of interest to students and researchers working in the fields of the sociology of culture and cultural studies.

The Shock of the Old: Mikhail Bakhtin's Contributions to the Theory of Time and Alterity
The shock of the old: Mikhail Bakhtin's contributions to the theory of time and alterity

The word does not enter the utterance from a dictionary, but from life, from utterance to utterance.

– Mikhail Bakhtin and P.N. Medvedev’1

The following chapter has several objectives.2 Its primary aim is to support a reading of Mikhail Bakhtin's later writings as indicating a profound departure from conventional ways of thinking in the human sciences; a related aim is to suggest that a full appreciation of this reorientation depends upon an understanding of Bakhtin's dialogism as an ethics of alterity (or heterology); a third objective is to argue that the ‘philosophical anthropological’ horizon of Bakhtin's thought can ...

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