1a.ikuscommentary.cresswell_ruck (p)

1a.ikuscommentary.cresswell_ruck (p) -...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: Commentary
on
“Some
historical
dimensions
of
the
 ‘dialogical
body’:
From
Bakhtin’s
dialogical
grotesque
 body
to
the
monological
body
of
modernity”
(Nora
Ruck)
 JAMES
CRESSWEELL
 University
of
Alberta,
Canada
 
 
 
 This
is
a
commentary
on
Ruck’s
paper
entitled
 “Some
historical
dimensions
of
the
‘dialogical
body’:
 From
Bakhtin’s
dialogical
grotesque
body
to
the
monological
body
of
modernity.”
While
I
agree
with
 her
 main
 claim,
 that
 Dialogical
 Self
 Theory
 still
 retains
 aspects
 of
 Cartesian
 rationalism,
 I
 do
 not
 agree
that
this
retention
is
due
to
the
theory’s
reliance
on
James.
Rather,
the
rationalism
that
marks
 the
physiognomic
body
finds
its
way
into
the
theory
by
way
of
its
reliance
on
Johnson’s

notion
of
 image
 schemas.
 This
 commentary
 is
 an
 (1)
 attempt
 to
 move
 forward
 Ruck’s
 claim
 by
 suggesting
 sounder
 critical
 ground
 and
 (2)
 situated
 it
 in
 an
 important
 discussion
 in
 socio‐cultural
 theory
 in
 general.

 
 
 
 Ruck’s
 (2009)
 paper
 is
 a
 timely
 one
 because
 the
 topic
 of
 embodiment
 is
 emerging
 as
 an
 important
issue—whether
it
is
in
cognitive
science,
social
constructionism,
or
the
interface
 between
 the
 two
 (e.g.
 Cromby,
 2004;
 Soffer,
 2001;
 van
 Dijk,
 Kerkhofs,
 van
 Rooij
 &
 Haselager,
2008).
In
particular,
this
article
has
merit
because
it
falls
in
line
with
a
critique
of
 a
 problem
 that
 underlies
 social
 constructionist
 roots
 in
 Dialogical
 Self
 Theory
 (DST;
 Hermans,
 Kempen
 &
 van
 Loon,
 1992).
 Embodied
 phenomena
 such
 as
 commitment,
 authenticity,
 belief,
 and
 so
 on
 are
 often
 treated
 as
 topics
 about
 which
 we
 construct
 our
 knowledge
 in
 talk
 (e.g.
 Edwards,
 1999).
 Critics
 state
 that,
 far
 from
 being
 capricious
 constructions
 that
 occur
 in
 a
 “free
 play
 of
 discourses”
 (Gergen,
 1991,
 p.
 247),
 such
 experiences
 are
 lived
 with
 a
 deep
 experiential
 weight
 that
 cannot
 be
 reduced
 to
 socially
 constructed
 knowledge‐about
 experience
 (e.g.
 Baerveldt
 &
 Voestermanns,
 2005;
 Soffer,
 2001).
This
is
not
to
say
that
such
critics
minimize
the
role
of
sociality.
They
address
how
 recognizing
 that
 sociality
 is
 entwined
 with
 embodiment
 allows
 us
 to
 better
 address
 the
 plane
 of
 lived
 life:
 the
 body
 we
 are.
 As
 such,
 Ruck’s
 paper
 has
 substantial
 merit
 because
 conceptualizing
the
 dialogical
 body
falls
 in
line
 with
this
critique
 that
continues
the
 move
 away
 from
 self‐contained
 individualism
 that
 emphasizes
 the
 social
 constitution
 of
 bodily
 experience.
 
 However,
in
its
present
form,
Ruck’s
article
cannot
fully
realize
its
own
merit.

She
argues
 that
DST
ultimately
retains
hallmarks
of
Cartesian
rationalism
that
marks
the
physiognomic
 body.
I
agree
that
remnants
of
Cartesian
rationalism
still
plaques
DST
but
not
on
the
basis
 that
Ruck
argues.
It
is
the
goal
of
this
commentary
to
further
the
claim
that
Ruck
advocates
 by
moving
it
onto
sounder
critical
ground.


 
 
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
18
‐
21
 18 IN
DEFENSE
OF
HERMANS
AND
DST
 
 The
author
traces
the
evolution
of
the
physiognomic
body
and
demonstrates
that
it
finds
its
 way
into
William
James,
whose
psychology
rests
upon
a
single
Cartesian
rational
I
(self‐as‐ knower).

Ruck
claims
that
James’
typology
of
the
 I
that
rationally
knows
and
the
 Me’s
that
 are
 known
 is
 adopted
 by
 Hermans
 in
 early
 incarnations
 of
 DST
 (note
 that
 Hermans’
 adoption
 of
 James
 has
 already
 been
 criticized
 in
 Barressi,
 2002).
 However,
 DST
 does
 not
 adopt
 James’
 psychology
 in
 the
 manner
 that
 Ruck
 claims.
 In
 the
 introduction
 of
 The
 Dialogical
Self,
 Hermans
and
Kempen
(1993)
argue
that
they
synthesize
Bakhtin’s
notion
of
 the
polyphonic
novel
and
James’
notion
of
self
to
create
something
new.

An
innovation
to
 which
 the
 authors
 claim
 throughout
 their
 book
 is
 that
 they
 remove
 themselves
 from
 the
 monologism
 inherent
 in
 James’
 I.
 They
 state
 that
 they
 move
 away
 from
 the
 singular
 I
 in
 James
and
advocate
multiple
I‐positions
such
that
each
 Me
has
an
I‐position.
Consequently,
 they
explicitly
deny
the
singular
I
that
Ruck’s
argument
depends
upon.

 
 CARTESTIAN
RATIONALISM
IN
DST
 
 The
 physiognomic
 body
 is
 a
 body
 that
 we
 have
 knowledge‐of
 and
 Ruck
 argues
 that
 this
 knowledge
is
a
hallmark
of
Cartesian
rationalism.
If
rationalism
can
be
shown
to
be
part
of
 DST,
then
we
can
retain
the
claim
that
the
DST
still
involves
physiognomic
characteristics
to
 some
degree.
What
remains
in
this
commentary
is
to
show
that
the
rationalist
aspect
of
the
 physiognomic
body
is
taken
up
in
DST
on
the
basis
of
its
reliance
on
Johnson’s
(1987)
“
 image
schemas.
 
 Hermans
 and
 Kempen
 (1993)
 rely
 heavily
 on
 Johnson
 (1987)
 and
 his
 notion
 of
 image
 schemas.
They
describe
how
an
image
schema
is
drawn
from
our
embodied
activity
in
the
 world.
That
is,
an
“image
schema
functions
as
a
frame
[metaphor]
for
orienting
ourselves
in
 varying
situations
on
the
 basis
of
the
form
of
our
body”
(Hermans
&
Kempen,
1993,
p.
9).

 Physical
bodies
are
treated
as
the
center
of
experience
and
we
make
conceptual
sense
of
the
 world
in
terms
of
our
bodies.
This
conceptual
sense
comes
about
by
way
of
metaphorically
 transferring
 one
 conceptual
 understanding
 to
 another:
 “…metaphor
 is
 an
 implicit
 comparison
 between
 two
 unlike
 entities.
 The
 quality
 of
 one
 entity
 is
 transferred
 to
 the
 other
entity”
(Hermans
&
Kempen,
1993,
p.
9).
For
example,
people
can
conceptualize
life
in
 terms
of
spatial
metaphors
like
feeling
down,
going
 through
a
difficult
time,
or
waking
 up
to
 a
surprising
fact.
 
 Hermans
and
Kempen
(1993)
appropriate
the
notion
of
image
schemas
to
explain
how
the
 mind
comes
to
be
populated
with
multiple
 personae
(“voices”).
People
are
treated
as
being
 able
to
imaginatively
recreate
social
relationships
in
an
imaginal
landscape
by
way
of
image
 schemas
(Hermans
et
 al.,
1992;
Hermans
&
 Kempen,
1993).
That
is,
they
focus
on
how
an
 image
 schema
 is
 formed
 on
 the
 basis
 of
 how
 people
 make
 sense
 of
 interpersonal
 interactions.
The
image
schema
enables
people
to
form
abstract
conceptualizations
of
social
 relationships—so
 abstract
 that
 personae
 can
 be
 imagined
 on
 the
 basis
 of
 image
 schemas.
 Social
 relations
 are
 re‐mapped
 intra‐psychically
 so
 that
 they
 become
 intra‐psychic
 relations.
 
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
18
‐
21
 19 Hermans
and
Kempen
(1993)
turn
to
a
discussion
of
narrative
in
an
effort
to
integrate
the
 narrative
 construction
 of
 the
 self
 with
 the
 notion
 of
 image
 schemas.
 They
 argue
 that
 personae
 can
 be
 incorporated
 into
 the
 imaginal
 landscape
 of
 the
 psyche
 to
 act
 like
 independent
agents
in
their
basis.
Such
 personae
engage
in
‘intersubjective
exchange’
with
 each
other
and
the
outside
world
to
jointly
construct
a
self
narrative.
Hence,
the
narrative
 conception
of
a
single
author
orchestrating
life
does
not
fit
because
there
are
many
authors
 in
DST.
DST
often
treats
Bakhtin
(1984)
as
bringing
together
a
narrative
approach
with
the
 multi‐voiced
 imaginal
 landscape
 because
 of
 his
 claims
 that
 Dostoevsky
 was
 an
 author
 among
 many
 in
 the
 polyphonic
 novel.
 Bakhtin’s
 discussion
 of
 Dostoevsky
 and
 the
 polyphonic
 novel
 is
 taken
 to
 be
 an
 illustration
 of
 how
 social
 relations
 are
 re‐mapped
 to
 shape
intra‐psychic
relations
that
result
in
constructed
self‐narratives
(for
a
discussion
on
 why
this
is
a
misinterpretation
of
Bakhtin
see
Cresswell
&
Baerveldt,
submitted).
 
 The
 reliance
 upon
 image
 schemas
 has
 the
 markings
 of
 Cartesian
 rationalism
 that
 Ruck
 is
 looking
for
because
it
involves
the
construction
of
conceptual
knowledge.
Johnson’s
notion
 of
 image
 schemas
 is
 based
upon
 uncovering
how
we
gain
our
 understanding
of
 the
 world
 and
this
understanding
includes
the
knowledge
we
have
of
our
bodies.
Via
image
schemas,
 our
bodies
become
objects
of
knowledge.
Furthermore,
narratives
are
the
means
by
which
 we
gain
 knowledge
 of
 ourselves
 in
DST.
Included
in
these
 narratives
 are
 those
 told
 about
 our
own
bodies
and
narratives
are
the
means
by
which
we
come
to
know
about
the
body
we
 have.
 The
 self‐narratives
 that
 are
 created
 by
 the
 dialogue
 among
 multiple
 I‐positions
 are
 effectively
constructions
of
the
rationalistic
knowledge
that
marks
the
physiognomic
body,
 even
 if
 they
 are
 not
 monologic.
 In
 other
 words,
 DST
 does
 not
 escape
 socially
 constructed
 knowledge‐of
 the
 body
 and
 its
 emphasis
 on
 narrative
 enhances
 this
 entrapment.
 While
 escaping
monologism,
DST
does
not
escape
the
rationalism
of
the
physiognomic
body.
 
 CONCLUSION
 
 As
 noted
 by
 Ruck,
 the
 dialogical
 body
 (‘body
 we
 are’)
 is
 not
 a
 body
 that
 is
 rationally
 conceived
 because
 it
 is
 a
 body
 that
 is
 lived.
 In
 his
 early
 work,
 Bakhtin
 (1990;
 1993)
 was
 quite
 clear
 that
 he
 was
 concerned
 with
 approaching
 life
 as
 it
 is
 lived
 experientially
 in
 opposition
 to
 the
 abstracted
 rational
 knowledge‐of
 life
 that
 is
 emphasized
 in
 the
 likes
 of
 DST
 and
 other
 social
 constructionists
 (Cresswell
 &
 Baerveldt,
 2006,
 in
 press,
 submitted).
 Moreover,
 Bakhtin’s
 notion
of
the
 dialogical
 body
that
Ruckdraws
 upon
 is
one
 where
 the
 body
is
conceived
as
socially
constituted.
We
have
outlined
how
Bakhtin
treated
the
act
of
 Being
as
living
socially
cultivated
embodied
styles
of
communities
(Cresswell
&
Baerveldt,
 2006,
 in
 press,
submitted).
People
are
socialized
 in
terms
 of
how
to
 talk,
think,
and
 act
 in
 the
manner
of
a
community
but
such
socialization
involves
‘inner’
experience
as
well.
Even
 our
 own
 ‘inner’
 emotionality
 is
 socially
 constituted
 in
 Bakhtin’s
 view
 and
 our
 ‘personal’
 proprioceptive
experience
also
belongs
to
the
plane
of
the
‘body
 we
 are.’
His
view
was
that
 we
never
escape
social
participation
in
all
our
action
because
all
action
is
an
expression
of
a
 community.
 The
 skin,
 which
 is
described
by
 Ruck,
would
 not
 even
be
considered
 a
site
of
 mediation
 as
 she
intimates.
Rather,
Bakhtin
 conceived
 of
it
 as
the
 place
 where
 the
I‐other
 exist
 in
 community.
 The
 dialogic
 body
 is
 thereby
 a
 conception
 of
 embodiment
 that
 both
 makes
room
for
sociality
in
psychology
and
steps
back
from
the
rationalism
inherent
in
the
 idea
of
constructing
knowledge
about
life.
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
18
‐
21
 20 
 References
 
 Baerveldt,
J.,
&
Voestermans,
P.
(2005).
Culture,
emotion
and
the
normative
structure
of
 reality.
Theory
&
Psychology,
15(5),
449‐473.
 Bakhtin,
M.
(1984).
Problems
of
Dostoevsky's
poetics
(C.
Emerson,
Trans.).
Minneapolis:
 University
of
Minnesota
Press.
(Original
Russian
work
published
1963)
 Bakhtin,
M.
(1990).
Author
and
hero
in
aesthetic
activity
(V.
Liapunov
&
K.
Brostrom,
 Trans.).
In
M.
Holquist,
&
V.
Liapunov
(Eds.),
Art
and
answerability:
Early
philosophical
 essays.
Austin:
University
of
Texas
Press.
(Original
Russian
work
published
1979)
 Bakhtin,
M.
(1993).
Toward
a
philosophy
of
the
act
(V.
Liapunov,
Trans.).
Austin:
University
 of
Texas
Press.
(Original
Russian
work
published
1986)
 Barresi,
J.
(2002).
From
'the
thought
is
the
thinker'
to
'the
voice
is
the
speaker':
William
 James
and
the
dialogical
self.
Theory
&
Psychology,
12(1),
237‐250.
 Cresswell,
J.,
&
Baerveldt,
C.
(in
press).
Materiality
matters:
Towards
a
reformulation
of
the
 dialogical
self
along
Bakhtinian
lines.
Proceedings
from
the
International
Society
for
 Theory
and
Psychology
Conference
(volume
yet
to
be
titled).

 Cresswell,
J.,
&
Baerveldt,
C.
(submitted).
Bakhtin
on
the
novel
and
aesthetic
expression:
 Towards
re‐visioning
of
the
dialogical
self.
 Cresswell,
J.,
&
Baerveldt,
C.
(2006).
Caught
without
an
alibi:
M.
M.
Bakhtin
and
the
 psychology
of
agency.
History
and
Philosophy
of
Psychology
Bulletin
18(1),
14‐22.
 Cromby,
J.
(2004).
Between
constructionism
and
neuroscience:
The
societal
co‐constitution
 of
embodied
subjectivity.
Theory
&
Psychology,
14(5),
797‐821.
 Edwards,
D.
(1999).
Emotion
discourse.
Culture
&
Psychology,
5(3),
271‐291.
 Gergen,
K.
(1991).
The
saturated
self:
Dilemmas
of
identity
in
contemporary
Life.
USA:
Basic
 Books.
 Hermans,
H.,
&
Kempen,
H.
(1993).
The
dialogical
self.
Toronto:
Academic
Press.

 Hermans,
H.,
Kempen,
H.,
&
van
Loon
(1992).
The
dialogical
self:
Beyond
individualism
and
 rationalism.
American
Psychologist,
47(1),
23‐33.
 Johnson,
M.
(1987).
The
body
in
mind:
The
bodily
basis
of
meaning,
imagination,
and
reason.
 Chicago:
University
of
Chicago
Press.
 Ruck,
N.
(2009).
Some historical dimensions of the ‘dialogical body’: From Bakhtin’s dialogical grotesque body to the monological body of modernity. Psychology & Society, 2
(1),
8‐17.
 Soffer,
J.
(2001).
Embodied
perception:
Redefining
the
social.
Theory
&
Psychology,
11(5),
 655‐670.
 Van
Dijk,
J.,
Kerkhofs,
R.,
van
Rooij,
I.,
&
Haselager,
P.
(2008).
Can
there
by
such
a
thing
as
 embodied
embedded
cognitive
neuroscience?
Theory
&
Psychology,
18(3),
297‐316.
 
 AUTHOR
BIOGRAPHY
 
 James
Cresswell
is
a
Ph.D.
candidate
in
Social
and
Cultural
Psychology
at
the
University
of
 Alberta,
 Canada.
 
 He
 is
 interested
 in
 Bakhtin’s
 philosophy,
 its
 implications
 for
 how
 we
 conceive
 of
 cultural
 psychology,
 and
 how
 these
 implications
 inform
 the
 study
 of
 acculturation
psychology.
Email
jim.cresswell@ualberta.ca
 
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
18
‐
21
 21 ...
View Full Document

Ask a homework question - tutors are online