Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gender Enactments


Gender Enactments in Immigrants' Discursive Practices: Bringing Bakhtin to the Dialogue by Gergana Vitanova

Abstract: Drawing on the narratives of four East European couples, this article offers a discourse-centered analysis of their gendered experiences in the second language (L2). The analysis of the data integrates critical feminist perspectives with a Bakhtinian lens to language and the self. Espousing Bakhtin's concepts of dialogue, answerability, and emotional-volitional tone, the article illustrates how the participants in this study enact their positional identities on two planes of L2 use: relative to native speakers of English and within the couples. It shows the discourses these men and women voice in responding to their everyday realities with a particular focus on discourses of emotions and linguistic expertise. It also stresses that these responses are created on the boundary between the self and the Other. The article suggests that a Bakhtinian approach would allow us to add another dimension to viewing the gendered self: that of the ever-shifting relations between the self and the Other which, uniquely to Bakhtin, are fused with a sense of dialogic responsibility.

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