4th International Conference on the Dialogical Self (icds-4) University of Minho, Braga, Portugal



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16h00 – 17h30

Interactive Symposium

2nd Round


Dialoguing on methodologies: The challenge from dialogical self

Jaan Valsiner (Clark University, USA) & Lívia M. Simão (University of São Paulo, Brazil)


Leading Participants: Brady Wagoner (Cambridge University, UK), Jaan Valsiner (Clark University, USA), João Salgado (ISMAI, Portugal), Lívia M. Simão (University of São Paulo, Brazil), Tania Zittoun (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)

16h00 – 17h30

Symposium 13
What in the dialogical self involves Japanese psychologists?

Shinichi Mizokami (Kyoto University, Japan)


The notion of the dialogical self has gradually prevailed in Japan and has potential for expansion. In this symposium, we would like to largely discuss two contexts that may contribute to the development of the dialogical self. First, it is a local context. This can be divided into two types of contexts: (1) methodological and (2) practical. The qualitative approach, one of the methodologies, has been widely used in recent years, and may bring about not only diverse methodological possibilities but the necessity of the theory to conceptualize the local world qualitatively described and organized into the total. On the other hand, maturation of industrialization and collapse of the traditional working model since the beginning of 1990s have resulted in requestioning the quality and direction of diverse practices such as education and clinical psychology. Many local factors should be relativized with one another to organize them into the total so as to attain some valuable goal. Second, there are original concepts like well-known amae to function in the proper Japanese cultural context. In this symposium, the concepts, ma and utsushi, will be taken up to describe in-between space and transitional chronotopes in therapeutic scenes. The dialogical self can also be thought to sustain what happens in the clinical world, so therefore must be intriguing to differentiate from what the dialogical self describes.

Organizing on- and off-campus activities in university life entails organizing multiple I’s

Shinichi Mizokami (Kyoto University, Japan)


In higher education in Japan today, there is an increasing tendency of using strict evaluation in educational activities. They have necessarily resulted in students having too serious an attitude toward class attendance. Many students in Japan now spend most of the day in the classroom regardless of their motivation. Historically, however, students have participated in extra-curricular activities (clubs) and part-time paid work. If more activities such as meeting friends and girl/boyfriends, and hanging out in bars devoting themselves to personal interests, were included, students’ university life would become instantly full or even out of control. And it actually is. Students spend their busy everyday lives as if they were dealing well with things, even their studies. I will report how such students consciously can organize such activities as multiple I’s, multiple selves. Needless to say, activities have priority for individuals. Therefore, when organizing occurs in the individual, the I who does one activity seems to negotiate with the I who does another activity, exchanging their voices. In such dialogical world of the self, there could be other advantages to introduce the future dimension and to examine the struggle between an ideal I and an ought I (especially the latter, which has rarely been examined in the past).

Voices of the self in the therapeutic chronotope

Masayoshi Morioka (Nara Women’s University, Japan)


Japanese traditional culture has elaborated an aesthetic sense of ma or utushi, which are a chronotopic in-between space and transitional chronotope. Japanese are brought up to respectively listen to rich meaning in the silence, word to word ma. I would like to discuss about the dialogical self in psychotherapy. There is a silent voice, the voice spoken to oneself. Psychotherapists deeply concern the selves with their expressions of ma. The client is encouraged to en-voice her/his own neglected selves in therapeutic dialogue. Therapeutic change and spontaneity will then often emerge in such dialogue. We will discuss how this therapeutic spontaneity emerges. The first point of view is about the specification of the dialogical space, the dialogue with the other. The therapist makes efforts to listen attentively to her/his client’s voices, and to remain and to expand the dialogical space where the latent power of the client can become activated. The second point of views is about the specification of the dialogical time, about the present. Japanese present tense is different from that of the standard European languages. Japanese present tense incorporates rich space that includes past and future. The present can intermingle with the past in self narratives. The therapist pays attention to such effects of present tense in his/her client's utterances which may be the moment the client en-voices the neglected parts of their Self.

Whose voice is saying “who am I?”: The changing process of the self during adolescence

Reiko Mizuma (Fukushima University, Japan)


“Who am I?” This sounds like a typical question among adolescents. Adolescents are immersed in a process of transforming from someone they used to be to someone different from it with varying degrees of confusion and conflict over such an ego experience. During this process, the question “Who am I?” is ever-present on their minds. This kind of question has recently been considered as harmful for Japanese society, with the reasoning that being absorbed into “I” distracts the adolescent from his/her job interests. Actually, however, the question “Who am I?” does not oppose social interest. We believe it is needed in order for the person to consider the process surrounding this question. Investigations of this process were progressed based mainly on Erikson’s identity theory and Marcia’s identity status theory. In past decades, however, identity status theory has been strongly criticized, namely because it was unidirectional and teleological. This argument yielded many attractive questions regarding the process of change during adolescence, not only those mentioned above but also, for instance, the timing of identity development. In line with dialogical self theory, we can discuss these questions not from the view of developmental theory strongly related with chronological age, but from the view of the person's “inner voice”.

16h00 – 17h30

Paper 27

Methodology and empirical research

Chair: Katarzyna Stemplewska-Zakowicz (Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland)



A dialogical approach to in-depth interviews

Maria Cláudia S. Lopes de Oliveira (University of Brasília, Brazil) & Mariana Barcinski (Clark University, USA)


In the traditional perspective interview is conceived as a controlled verbal interchange between two or more interlocutors, where each participant has a distinct predefined role. Within this structure, the interviewer assumes a powerful position, not only orienting the interview, but also assigning meaning to what is said. Alternatively, a critical approach of interviews in the realm of qualitative research involves considering interviewing as a dialogical enterprise, as an activity where other roles than those of “informant” and “recipient” are performed. We investigate open-ended interviews as intentional dialogues organized in the form of an open-system, one that develops through time as a result of the co-regulation of its constituent subsystems. From a dialogical perspective, interviews are considered social interactions in which identities are crafted, transformed, and deployed. Hence, they constitute central settings to the analysis is the rhetorical work done by participants to present one another identity claims. Hence, interviews are not only methodological tools in data collection, but unity of analysis themselves.

"Position me if you want to have a date with me". Effects of experimental positioning on social influence

Bartosz Zalewski (Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland)


The study investigated the question whether positioning can increase the effectiveness of social influence techniques. Conversations, which could be classified as “flirts”, were chosen as an example of a social influence situation. It is assumed that those techniques are more effective when the persuaded person is successfully positioned according to the persuasive person’s intention; and less effective if the persuaded person is positioned in opposition to this purpose. Natural flirting conversations taken from Internet communicators were analyzed. The results show that the most effective positioning is when the persuaded person was being proposed (and accepted) one of the following positions: “you influence me” or “you are important to me”; and the most ineffective positioning appeared when the persuaded person felt in positions like: “take care about me” or “subordinate!”. Results support the model and show that efficiency of social techniques is moderated by positioning phenomena. These findings correspond with results of previous research on positioning (Stemplewska-Żakowicz, Suszek, Zalewski, 2005). Results will also be discussed with implications to nonconscious behavioral confirmation processes (Chen and Bargh, 1997).

Shared realities, their “underworlds” and the dialogical self

Katarzyna Stemplewska-Żakowicz, Anna Gabińska, Justyna Walecka & Dominik Gebler (Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland)


In a previous study (Stemplewska-Żakowicz, Walecka, Gabińska, 2006), experimental support was found for one of the basic theses of dialogical self theory: each I-position creates its own specific self-narrative. As it was predicted theoretically, self-narratives created in various relational contexts differed in regard to their content and form The additional results of the study suggested that different types of positioning (explicit or implicit ) may refer to different types of knowledge (socially shared or non-shared).

However, possible conclusions from this experiment are limited by the fact that observed differences referred to different research groups. The open question remains whether the same differences could be found not only between subjects, but also within them. To address this problem a next study was conducted, in which intrapersonal differences were directly assessed by means of repeated measures. The subjects were asked to write a self-narrative twice (with a delay of ca 1 month), each time within different relational context or under influence of different positioning procedure. The results can be considered to be very stimulating for a further debate on the dialogical self theory as well as on other psychological conceptions of intersubjective nature of human knowledge (i.e. Hardin & Higgins, 1995).



16h00 – 17h30

Poster Session 3
Chair: Luísa Aires (Universidade Aberta, Portugal)

1. Social representations of Alzheimer’s disease from a dialogical perspective

Catarina Peixoto, Carla Cunha & João Salgado (ISMAI, Portugal)


In a dialogical approach to Social Representations Theory, Ivana Marková emphasizes the dynamic features of representational phenomena in the mediation of the relationship Ego – Alter. Social representations, as cultural and social artefacts, become the third element that needs to be taken into account for a more complete understanding of the communication between an individual and a group. This specific study represents an attempt to understand and characterize the social representations around the Alzheimer’s disease in a group of college students from different scientific backgrounds. The expected results were that psychology students would be more aware of the subjective experience associated with this clinical condition. Curiously, no significant differences were found and our findings lead us to realize that the themata of the social representation accentuates a “medicalized” and objectified understanding the person with Alzheimer’s disease with no consideration of the psychological impact of this condition in selfhood. We will discuss these results as an applied study of the dialogical theory of social representations and elaborate on the implications of these findings in a dialogical conception of the care relationship between professionals, family and the person.

2. Dialogicality and self narratives in Brazilian adults’ Personal Position Repertoires

Mariane DeSouza , Manoela Ziebell DeOliveira, Amanda DaSilveira, & William B. Gomes (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil)
The Personal Position Repertoire’s main concern is to create appropriate conditions under which the dialogical phenomenon will manifest. This study was an attempt to analyze the correspondence between the concept of dialogical self (dialogicality as a theoretical rule) and Personal Position Repertoire (PPR) as its instrumental counterpart (how do I verify conscious expression of dialogicality). This analysis relied on empirical evidence provided by PPR’s application to seventeen Brazilian participants between 19 and 34 years old. Results suggested two different contexts for conscious expression of dialogicality: the possibility for a person to perceive her or himself as a multiplicity of characters, and the possibility to construct narratives about her or himself from different points-of-view. Dialogicality is discussed as a construct disclosed indirectly by PPR, that is, as an outcome of self’s narrative nature that emerges through a time-line.

3. Dialogical self in the process of creative writing

Renata Żurawska-Żyła (Catholic University of Lublin, Poland)

In creative process especially in the process of writing we can find phenomena which have a theoretical justification in the theory of the dialogical self by Hubert Hermans. As an example I present: internal dialogues of writers revealed in the process of writing, constructing literary protagonists and dialogues between them and the author or weaving a plot of the story. In my poster I would like to present a case study of a writer and show what the effects of my research are - how dialogical self is revealed in the writer’s creation. Moreover, I would like to present the method “I and my Protagonists” (my authorship), which indicate how the writer’s identity and scheme of self representation contains literary protagonists. I also ask writers to construct a dialogue beetween the author and each protagonist. That dialogues tell us about the emotional relation between the writer and his protagonists and about the functions and influences the protagonists have on the author. Can we treat literary protagonists as “I”-positions of the writer?

4. Women Talking About Women - As Exploration of the Gendered Self

Genie Giaimo (Clark University, USA)


My research focuses on ideologies that drive narratives on femininity and womanhood. These dominant discourses refer to belief structures that have been legitimized within society by the population, as well as by social institutions. Within the narratives of my subjects there are many conflicting cultural discourses at work. These discourses derive from essentialist theories; however my subjects employ constructionist theories in their discursive positioning. The discourses that I explore focus on images of womanhood and motherhood. Women construct their sense of self linguistically in a contested narrative space that mirrors the polarized and idealized images of womanhood and femininity we encounter within society. This contested space is in no way binarial. Young women construct their sense of self within a liminal space traversed by various conflicting cultural discourses on ideal womanhood and femininity. These conflicting discourses manifest within young women’s narratives in various linguistic and experiential forms.

My research charts the progression of the Feminist movement in America, and aims to reveal the influence of government and media representations of Feminists on the identity formation narratives of women.

5. Adolescence transgression and dialogical self: Youth adventures as narratives of “us” and “me”

Ana Barbeiro (Piaget Institute, Portugal)


In this paper we discuss some findings of a field research with a group of Portuguese adolescent transgressors living in a rural-industrial village. The grounded analysis of their life stories puts on evidence the relationship between their transgressive behaviors and the construction of meanings about themselves and their daily life. Transgressive behaviors are lived and told as adventures, allowing the members of the group to experience together the testing of community norms, to create intense events and to construct positive identities inside the group, in opposition to negative labelling from the “others”. As they are told to an audience (the members of the group, as well as outsiders) these adventures give place to the emergency of heroes in the group, but they also construct meanings about society and group norms, and about the past, the present and the future of individuals. In this sense, group and self identities are constructed and negotiated through the adventures, which are actions and actions-narratives-of-actions.

6. Identity (re)organization during the transition to parenthood and the imagined baby: Idiographic analysis of the dialogical movements between I-positions

Iva D’Alte, Sofia Barroso, Elisabete Ferreira, Carla Cunha & João Salgado (ISMAI, Portugal)
Transition to parenthood presents a unique moment of personal and familial development, and an opportunity for identity (re)organization. This has been a topic deeply explored by different lines of research. This study aims to contribute to the field with a dialogical approach to some psychological processes involved in that life transition. Since pregnancy involves the emergence of a new human being, our focus of research has been the emergent imaginary dialogues between mother/father and imagined baby and their relevance to the self-identity changes. Thus, we present 3 longitudinal case studies based on the Self-Confrontation Method, in which the future mother or father are invited to assume the position of the baby in order to engage in dialogue with their own position. The results point to different trajectories of development and adaptation to this life-task that will be briefly outlined.

7. A look at empathy from a dialogical perspective



Joana Teixeira, Carla Cunha & João Salgado (ISMAI, Portugal)
Empathy is a rather interesting process and still waiting for further exploration, as Valsiner has suggested. The phenomenological perspectives still dominate the conceptualization of empathy, but they also face epistemological difficulties such as solipsism and scepticism. This study tries to contribute to this field with a dialogical conception of this phenomenon while articulating it with a single case study of a small excerpt of a dialogue between a “listener” and someone who reveals a personal problem. The fundamental questions addressed are concerned with simultaneity of empathy and of lack of empathy. The results suggest that moments of empathy are difficult to achieve, but they seem to involve some synchronization between the rejoinders in the dialogue, in the form of turn-taking. The implications of these findings for a dialogical conception of empathy will be briefly explored.
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