Volume 3   Number 1      Fall 2008

Where Is Culture Within the Dialogical Perspectives on the Self?
Jaan Valsiner
Clark University, USA
Gyuseog Han
Chonnam National University, Korea
pp. 1-8   (pdf)
ABSTRACT.  This special Issue covers recent international efforts to domesticate the general theoretical framework of the Dialogical Self (DS) within cultural contexts where the Self/Other distinctions have historically been less clearly differentiated than in the occidental societies. This collective effort demonstrates that the theoretical perspective is applicable universally—yet with modifications in the ways in which its basic concepts— voice, I-position, polyphony of voices—have been originally set.  The dynamic affective complexes such as shimcheong (in Korea—Choi & Han, 2008; Han & Choi, 2008) or utushi (Morioka, 2008a, 2008b) require a new notion of opposition where the contrasts between the opposing poles feed into each other without a rupture—yet constituting a dynamic barrier in itself.  The Dialogical Self is contextualized in an equally multiple context of social relationship hierarchies (Chaudhary, 2008; van Meijl, 2008) which both calls for functional fluidity of the DS processes (to adapt to changes in the relationships) and limits the differentiation in the Self in relation to the Other. The form of operation of the voices and their derived I-positions is likely to be imaginal first (Ruck & Slunecko, 2008) and verbal only as a translation from the affective-visual code.  This brings the cultural nature of DS close to the efforts of contemporary semiotics to understand the operation of non-verbal signs in human minds and environments. The 19 papers (5 target papers and 13 commentaries with two responses) in this special issue are valuable contributions to the DS framework by expanding and challenging the DS theory in diverse dimensions.  
Keywords:  dynamics, culture, functional fluidity, relationship hierarchies, self, other