• 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 Norms of Answerability: Bakhtin and the Fourth Postulate
The norms of answerability: Bakhtin and the fourth postulate

This chapter examines conceptual shifts and interconnections between two of Bakhtin's first essays: Towards a Philosophy of the Act (1919–21) and the unfinished ‘The author and hero in aesthetic activity’ (1920–4). These works are key because they contain three distinct but overlapping problem motifs that combine to constitute the core of his philosophical anthropology: the personalist ethics of Being yourself, the aesthetics of the self-other or author-hero relation, and the normative framework of answerability that would come to define his general theory of the dialogic work inherent to the whole sphere of culture. I am particularly interested in further reconstructing how Bakhtin's thought evolves out of a critical ...

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