Volume 3   Number 1      Fall 2008

Negotiating the Place of Culture and Emotion in the Dialogical Self (Commentary on Choi and Han)
Hala W. Mahmoud
University of Cambridge, UK
pp. 225-240   (pdf)

ABSTRACT: This commentary on Choi & Han’s article attempts to extend the use of the Dialogical Self model to understand emotional experiences in broader sense. It focuses on the dynamics by which emotions are dialogically experienced in the everyday lives of individuals as a manifestation of the intersection between self and culture. It is argued that culture is distributed and inherently heterogeneous yet preserves a surface homogeneity that binds and facilitates communication between people of a cultural group. The underlying heterogeneity is explained both as a result of personality factors (and related idiosyncratic internalizations of prevailing cultural and value systems in a given society), as well as contextual factors. Both end up forming varying configurations of I-positions within the self that guide and shape emotional experiences and produce heterogeneity. It is argued that the dynamics of emotion judgements and the communication of those judgements is what reflects the underlying heterogeneity of culture and reproduces and reinforces the surface homogeneity.

Keywords: Dialogical self, culture, emotions, internalization, externalization, personal culture, collective culture, homogeneity and heterogeneity of culture