Volume 2   Number 1      Fall 2007

Dialogue and Co-Regulation:  Using Dialogical Self Terminology in the Relational-Historical Approach. A Commentary on Garvey & Fogel’s “Dialogical Change Processes, Emotions, and the Early Emergence of Self”
Dankert Vedeler
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
pp. 77-91   (pdf)
ABSTRACT. The relational-historical approach to the study of mother-infant interaction is discussed in the light of the theories of Henri Wallon and Mikhail Bakhtin. The central question addresses the relevance of the concept of dialogue for this area of research. It is argued that an important common ground for Wallon and Bakhtin is the focus on the bodily origin of social interaction. The infant initiates emotional relationships through physical coregulation with persons and things. Differences in the infant’s behaviour toward persons and things justify a conceptualization of social coregulation as dialogue. The time dimension is very important to understand the significance of accumulated earlier experiences for the emergence of a dialogical self, also, and in particular, in infants. That is the essence of the relational-historical approach. In order to study development over time, thus conceived, the ”frame” concept is central. However, in order to be useful for observing development, the continuity of frames from one observation session to another is as important as changes and transitions.
Keywords: Mother-infant interaction, infant intentionality, coregulation, dialogue, dialectics, frames