Thursday, December 13, 2012

more on Bakhtin

General observations about Bakhtin's use and popularity
1) Bakhtin is not as popular as I thought (not that popularity matters to me but I just find it curious)
2) Bakhtin is more popular in SLA compared to SLW (why? I would expect it to be the other way around. I wonder if the strictness of mainstream SLA created its antithesis, one of which is a Bakhtinian approach. Or maybe because Bakhtin speaks to and is an alternative to generative linguistics too.)
3) It puzzles me that Bakhtin's concept of speech genres is not a household idea
4) Why Voice of all things and not so much other more immediately relevant concepts?!? 
5) Bakhtin is often used in conjunction with other theoretical frameworks. This baffles me because Bakhtin has one the most complete theoretical frameworks I know and yet it is almost always used in addition to something else, post-structuralism, activity approaches, feminist perspectives, Vygotskyan approaches and the list goes on and on. I don't think it is because Bakhtin's approach lacks anything but rather it seems to invite people with all kinds of theoretical affiliations to a conversation. To me at least Bakhtin seems to be able to speak to everybody's language, like a lego piece it fits with other things. Isn't it interesting?
I do not know if you share my observations or if you know why things are the way they are. Please feel free to share your ideas.

Here is a short list of some books that revolve around a Bakhtinian perspective. I read most of these books only partially.

Authoring the Dialogic Self by Gergana Vitanova

A Philosophy of Second Language Acquisition by Marysia Johnson

Bakhtinian Perspectives on Language, Literacy, and Learning edited by Ball and Freedman

Dialogue with Bakhtin on Second and Foreign Language Learning edited by Hall, Vitanova, and Marchenkova

Writing Disciplinarity by Paul Prior

Dialogues on Bakhtin: Interdisciplinary readings edited by Lahteenmaki and Dufva

Critical Qualitative Inquiry in Second Language Studies: Agency and Advocacy edited by Kathryn A. Davis 

With this entry I think I'm done with Bakhtin for now. I finished the theoretical framework chapter, sent it to my advisor, got feedback (I will revise later), recorded the citations both on zotero and mendeley, saved electronic copies with my annotations to google drive, prepared a mind map of sources on Freemind and labelled them, and shared the Bakhtinian sources here on this blog. I think I can move on to the lit review chapter, which requires a lot of reading. YAY! Ah, the best part is the reading. The problem is to know when to stop :-) Any advice?

Anyway, as much as I like Bakhtin's ideas, I'm kind of bored of reading on Bakhtin so I think I have to tell Bakhtin that I want to have a temporary separation :-) Can I date, I mean, read some life histories and narratives and such while separated? Ha ha maybe I should write to a dating advice column ^_^ I hope my husband does not read this post. Today it's our anniversary too.


  1. Hi Beril, long time no see! I stumbled on your blog while searching on the web. I was interested in Bakhtin a while ago too, but I couldn't get much out of him for some reason. I'm a big fan of Paul Prior's work though. Hope you enjoy your literature review reading, and happy anniversary!

  2. Hi Brian, it's nice to hear from you. Thanks for the kind wishes. I like Paul Prior's work too. I had the chance to attend his colloquium at AAAL 2011 Entextualization troubles across scales: Theorizing and analyzing repetition, genre, register, practices, media,
    and other forms of recognizability. It was fascinating. I was so disappointed that I could not attend all the presentations because I had to chair a session and get ready to leave.
    If I remember correctly you're interested in Latour. Actor network theory is quite interesting too.I remember liking his book on Aramis. Anyway, talk to you later.

    1. Yes, I've been working may way through Latour, as well as some object-oriented philosophers. Thomas Rickert at Purdue turned me on to Graham Harman, and I've found his work and that of other OOP philosophers very interesting. If you're interested in reading more Latour, I recommend Pandora's Hope. So much to read!