Bakhtin and the Human Sciences
No Last Words
- Michael E Gardiner - University of Western Ontario, Canada
- Michael Mayerfeld Bell - University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA
Cultural Studies | Social & Cultural Anthropology | Social Theory
What are we to make of Bakhtin? Nearly twenty years after his death, the full richness of his ideas has still not been digested. For many people working in the social sciences he remains a mysterious and impenetrable writer. Many are conscious hat his ideas are relevant for sociology and cultural studies, but would be hard pressed to give chapter and verse. Others regard Bakhtin to be 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.
A lively introduction discusses the importance of Bakhtin as a major intellectual figure and situates his ideas in current theoretical trends and developments. This is followed by essays from a diverse group of contributors, organized around the four main themes in Bakhtin's work: dialogics, carnivals, conversations and ethics and everyday life.
Bakhtin and the Human Sciences is an accurate and insightful attempt to extend Bakhtin's ideas into the mainstream social sciences and to reconsider Bakhtin as a social thinker, not just a literary theorist.