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Bakhtin and the Human Sciences
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Bakhtin and the Human Sciences
No Last Words

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August 1998 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
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 BakhtinÆs 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 BakhtinÆs 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.
 
INTRODUCTIONS
Michael Gardiner and Michael Mayerfeld Bell
Bakhtin and the Human Sciences
An Introduction

 
 
PART TWO: DIALOGICS
John Shotter and Michael Billig
A Bakhtinian Psychology
From Out of the Heads of Individuals and into the Dialogues between Them

 
Jennifer De Peuter
The Dialogics of Narrative Identity
Michael Mayerfeld Bell
Culture as Dialogue
Dorothy Smith
Bakhtin and the Dialogic of Society
An Investigation

 
 
PART THREE: CARNIVALS
Peter Hitchcock
The Grotesque of the Body Electric
Hwa Yol Jung
Bakhtin's Dialogical Body Politics
Michael Bernard-Donals
Knowing the Subaltern
Bakhtin, Carnival and the Other Voice of the Human Sciences

 
 
PART FOUR: CONVERSATIONS
Michael Gardiner
'The Incomparable Monster of Solipsism'
Bakhtin and Merleau-Ponty

 
Raymond A Morrow
Bakhtin and Mannheim
An Introductory Dialogue

 
Ian Burkitt
The Death and Rebirth of the Author
The Bakhtin Circle and Bourdieu on Individuality, Language and Revolution

 
 
PART FIVE: ETHICS AND EVERYDAY LIVES
Courtney Bender
Bakhtinian Perspectives on 'Everyday Life' Sociology
Barry Sandywell
The Shock of the Old
Mikhail Bakhtin's Contributions to the Theory of Time and Alterity

 
Greg Nielsen
The Norms of Answerability
Bakhtin and the Fourth Postulate

 

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.

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Michael Gardiner

Michael Mayerfeld Bell

Michael Mayerfeld Bell is Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For his day job, he is principally an environmental sociologist and a social theorist, focusing on dialogics, the sociology of nature, and social justice. These concerns for the world have led him to studies of agroecology, the body, community, consumption, culture, development, food, democracy, economic sociology, gender, inequality, participation, place, politics, rurality, the sociology of music, and more. He is also a part-time composer of grassroots and classical music, and a mandolinist, guitarist, and singer. More About Author

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