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

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Thursday, June 1st, 2006

9h45 – 10h45

Keynote Speaker
William B. Stiles (Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, USA)

A case study approach to the development of intrapersonal dialogue
I will argue the case for case studies as scientific evidence. Case studies are appropriate in the context of verification as well as in the context of discovery. Whereas the conventional hierarchy of evidence in psychotherapy research puts case studies at the bottom and randomized controlled trials at the top, I suggest that both case studies and hypothesis-testing research can provide quality control on theories, which is the main point of scientific research. Case studies use a strategy that is different from hypothesis testing, addressing many theoretical issues in the same study rather than focusing on only one or a few. Despite familiar drawbacks, case studies have distinctive advantages for research on psychotherapy and other dialogical phenomena, such as their ability to incorporate unique features and to study multifaceted phenomena in context. I will draw examples from research on a dialogical theory of psychological change that we call the assimilation model. This developmental account of how people's conflicting internal voices come to terms with each other has been constructed primarily from a series of intensive case studies.

11h00 – 12h30

Symposium 1
From imbalances to balances: Paths to innovation within the self

Avraham N. Kluger & Dina Nir (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)

The proposed symposium will present three works all geared towards helping individuals initiate new, creative dialogues within the self and attain inner balances. In the first presentation, van Loon will discuss vision clarity in developing one's inner leadership. In the second presentation, Nir will review a theory regarding the benefits of viewing the self as negotiational, and will present guidelines for identifying and transforming one's inner dialogues from win-lose to win-win processes. In the last presentation, Kluger will present spatial maps (bi-plots based on Principal Component Analyses) to obtain a bird's eye-view of the balances and imbalances in clients’ inner dialogues. Finally, in lieu of a discussant, an audience-wide discussion, moderated by the presenters will probe the potential innovations of this symposium, in pairs, small groups, and a plenary presentation by group heads. The questions that each participant will attempt to answer are: “On the basis of what you heard now, what can you do to increase your inner balance?” and “How are you going to do that?” In this way the audience will educate the presenters creating a true dialogue contributing to the balance of all.

The “dialogical leader”: Balance by reconciling I-positions

Rens Van Loon (Right Management Consultants, The Netherlands)

Leadership has to do with dialogue and development. A leader wants to bring something about: in the world, in a company, in a political party, in a religious community and in himself. To achieve this, the leader must influence others in his environment in dialogue with them. A leader wants to get others on board and inspire them to do something for him. But the dialogue is also directed inward when it is about the self-investigation that a leader needs to do in order to gain clarity about his different roles, which we define as I-positions. We assume that the leader needs to be able to play different roles to be effective. So he has to act from different I-positions, and gear his story to the perspective of each of those positions. Effective and successful leadership means that the leader is able to reconcile the divergence between these I-positions. This is possible by moving flexibly between them, like I as an entrepreneur next to being a professional; I as rational and at the same time intuitive. The conflict and reconciliation between some I-positions will be elaborated on and illustrated in some detail within on the basis of some examples.

The "negotiational self": Resolving inner conflict with integrative (win-win) strategies

Dina Nir (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)

A negotiational view of the self is put forward, suggesting that dialogical processes by which different I-positions within the self communicate and eventually reach a resolution, corresponds to negotiation strategies and processes that occur inter-personally. By employing various concepts and principles from the negotiation literature, a new understanding of the dynamics and characteristics of the self emerges. Specifically, it is suggested that inner negotiations between different I-positions can be categorized as either integrative (win-win) or distributive (win-lose) negotiations. Viewing the self as negotiational further entails that creating innovation within the self and increasing happiness and prosperity, lies in one's ability to transform win-lose dialogues into creative win-win dialogues within the self. Based on this theory three hypotheses are proposed: (a) as in inter-personal negotiation, negotiations within the self lead to either integrative (win-win), or distributive (win-lose) outcomes, (b) each of these outcomes (win-win or win-lose) leaves its unique affective trace, and (c) an interest-based approach to negotiation transforms inner negotiations from distributive to integrative processes, which satisfy conflicting needs and interests. Preliminary data (surveys and personal interviews) supporting these hypotheses will be presented, followed by examples for resolving inner conflict with integrative (win-win) strategies, and implications for personal leadership development.

Personal Position Repertoire (PPR) from a bird's eye view

Avraham N. Kluger, Dina Nir, & Yuval Kluger (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)

To obtain a bird's eye of the dialogical structure of the self, we propose creating a spatial map of clients' PPRs. The spatial map is constructed by using bi-plots of the factors underlying the internal and external positions of the clients. There are multiple bi-plots technologies available today. However, the simplest approach psychologists can take is to perform a standard Principal Component Analysis (PCA). To obtain a bi-plot, one performs a PCA once on the external positions and once on the internal positions (by transposing the input matrix data). In both PCAs the number of factors are restricted to the first two components. Next, one plots a scatter of the two PCAs on the same plane, where results of the first components are projected to the X-axis and of the second components to Y-axis. To demonstrate the method, a bi-plot of data published by Hermans (2001) will be used. In this map, one can note two major conflicts (meta voices): security versus creativity and competition versus cooperation, as well as clusters of internal and external representations. This map will be used to demonstrate application and benefits for therapists, clients, and researchers in probing the self.
11h00 – 12h30

Symposium 2
Imagination, hidden other

Emily Abbey (College of the Holy Cross, USA) & Tania Zittoun (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)

Discussant: Tania Zittoun (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
For many, engagement with dialogical perspectives has been centered on the relevance that emergence, movement, and co-determination have for understanding human selves and minds.  We understand imagination, broadly speaking, to be a foundation of these dynamic constructs and of the dialogical self more generally. Though central to dialogical thinking, it is our sense that imaginative processes can be better understood through increased attention, so in this symposium, we highlight the sometimes hidden other— imagination. Within this theme, Josephs emphasizes that imaginative thought extends past childhood, highlighting the centrality of imaginal dialogical relations with ‘the other’ in the daily life context of adults. Wagoner explores how one imagines the past through signs, looking in detail at (for-self) and (for-other) forms of semiotic mediation, and how they are used in dialogue about previously occurring events. Bastos & Abbey describe the ‘poetic motion’ of meaning as I-positions develop toward the unknown future. Lastly, Cunha & Ferreira provide a dialogical conceptualization of imagination that centralizes intersubjectivity, and suggest that in a dialogical model of selfhood, some additional notions may be necessary to provide an adequate explanation of human subjectivity.

Psychology of "as if": How imaginal dialogues contribute to self-construction

Ingrid Josephs (University of Hagen, Germany)

Imagination is at the core of human meaning-making processes. It is oriented towards the future, and plays a significant role in the construction of the world and the self. The German philosopher Hans Vaihinger states in his landmark work "The Philosophy of As If" (1911) that we willingly (and happily) accept fictions and behave "as if" the world matches them. We do so in the physical sciences, but also in our everyday life.

A "psychology of as if" is comparatively underdeveloped. Though developmental research has shown the importance of fiction and fantasy in childhood (e.g., symbolic play, imaginal friends), imagination in later ages is – in contrast to rational thinking – not well explored.

The present paper will provide a theoretically grounded, psychological perspective on the world of imagination. It will especially focus on imaginal dialogical relations with "the other" in children's and especially adults' everyday life, and on their important role in the construction of the self. Empirical examples will be added in order to demonstrate the power of imagination across the lifespan.

Imaginative remembering: An analysis of the semiotic mediation of remembering

Brady Wagoner (University of Cambridge, UK)

Imagination is key to the study of remembering for it involves the utilization of experiences no longer present to the sensory organs (Bartlett, 1932). These past experiences are imagined via the mediation through signs - or semiotic mediation (SM) - and integrated into a totality through the same process. To study remembering as an imaginative activity characterized by SM, I have put subjects in pair to reconstruct an event in conversation with each other. In so doing an otherwise internal process is
made accessible to the researcher. Conversations are analyzed for different forms of mediation (both for-one-self and for-another) and their role in emergence, negotiation and integration of experiences in the flow of dialogue.

Creating bridges to the future: The poetic dimension through family conversation

Ana Cecília Bastos (Federal University of Bahia, Brazil) & Emily Abbey (College of the Holy Cross, USA)

The concept of poetic motion, as a metaphor for human development, centralizes the notion of emergence. The study of phenomena circumscribed into this field cannot avoid recognizing the uncertainty that underlies the person’s developmental experience. Novelty emerges from a meaning-making field, within which the developing person moves, negotiating heterogeneous, ambivalent demands. In everyday context, especially one of “living with fear”, meanings travel mainly in the direction from what could be to what is. The person acts “as-if” the world was different, creating distance from the here-and-now, and constructing bridges to the future. This process entails active imagination, at the intrapersonal and interpersonal spheres. This distancing mechanism, which allows the orientation to the future through “as-if” I-positions, is understood as a general human characteristic and is essential to considering the emergence of psychological novelty and self construction. This paper analyzes meaning-making processes in the context of group conversation about family life in impoverished conditions. We look at how poverty limits developmental contexts, yet how, simultaneously, there can be psychological novelty, constructed through semiotically mediated meaning-making processes. This discussion implies a description of the particular features these processes assume in the Brazilian context.

Behind and beyond imagination

Carla Cunha & Tiago Ferreira (ISMAI, Portugal)

In a more traditional foundationalist epistemology, psychology has relied upon the notion of consciousness to explain subjectivity. Recently, the critical movements to this epistemological framework have created an intellectual context that emphasizes the fictional nature of human experience. Following this line of reasoning, the concept of imagination has become central to explain relational processes both within ourselves and with others. However, some recent dialogical models have highlighted that this conceptualization may not be enough to explain the relational nature of human existence. Hence, this presentation will have the following goals:

  1. To present a dialogical conceptualization of imagination, emphasizing intersubjectivity as the basis of imaginative processes;

  2. To argue that research on the Dialogical Self Theory has been using the notion of I-position as a semiotic organizer of meaning-making and selfhood processes;

  3. To explore the potentialities of this traditional use as a rhetoric therapeutic technique; and,

  4. To discuss some of the difficulties that it may create and maintain as an explanatory concept of subjectivity.

11h00 – 12h30

Paper 1
Linguistic and psycholinguistic perspectives

Chair: Marie-Cécile Bertau (University of Munich, Germany)

Dialogical linguistics and the notion of meaning potentials

Per Linell (Linköping University , Sweden)

Looking back anachronistically on the history of dialogism, Bakhtin seems to have entertained a conservative view on language and linguistics (cf. his distinction between linguistics and trans/meta-linguistics, and its implications). This is of course hardly surprising; after all, the development in linguistic pragmatics and language philosophy, as well as extensive empirical studies of talk-in-interaction, which all belong to recent decades, implied a considerable change of mind on the part of those interested in the social life of language. But what would a dialogical linguistics actually contain? What linguistic knowledge does a dialogical self possess? In this paper I wish to spell out some (very few) features of a possible dialogical linguistics, with a special focus on the notion of meaning potential (semantic potentiality).

On the notion of voice: A psycholinguistical perspective

Marie-Cécile Bertau (University of Munich, Germany)

The notion of voice is fundamental to the theory of the dialogical self. The proposed perspective in exploring this notion is a psycholinguistical one, focusing on language and development in contexts of addressivity. Here, voice is first of all a concrete auditive-vocal event between persons. Five key concepts are used to sketch the phenomenon: indexicality, body, intonation, imitation, and internalization. The last two ones in particular are related to voice acquisition in ontogenesis. Voice is thought to be a meaningful, perceivable and experienced form tied to another person. This form serves as a powerful mechanism of internalization. Developmental implications will further be discussed and related to the model of phonicity given in Bertau (2004).

Processes of reading and meaning (re)construction at school: A dialogical game between readers and texts

Jorge Manuel Rocha Pimenta (University of Minho, Portugal)

This work is part of a wider investigation, developed in the area of reading, with a particular emphasis on the skills that are involved in the reading of narratives in school context. We based our work upon a theoretical ground that conceives reading as a complex area, integrating different cognitive processes. We also assumed its global and interactive nature, which means that while reading readers interact with texts, under certain conditions – context (Irwin, 1986; Giasson, 1993; Colomer, 2003). As a result of this dialogical process (Hermans 2000, 2001, 2003), one has meaning construction. Therefore, dialogicality in reading is understood, in this work, as the cognitive game that readers actively play with texts, leading to construction and reconstruction of meaning; opposed to this assumption, there is a more passive and mnemonic approach in which readers simply capture meaning placed in texts by authors.

The focus of this study is on the kind of dialogue happening between 8th graders and narrative texts, which imply an analysis on the reading skills (associated to microprocesses, macroprocesses, integrative processes, elaborative processes and metacognitive processes – Irwin, 1986; Giasson, 1993; Colomer, 2003) activated by them when reading. The final results suggest different levels of performance, depending on the dialogue readers establish with texts.

Humour in political discourse

Jaap Bos (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)

This paper explores subversive and normalizing uses of humour in two political debates on gender inequality and domestic violence in the Parliament of Namibia. Starting from the supposition that humour has a power dimension as well as a cultural dimension, and that it has a marked use in Western political debate, the question that is researched is: how does humour contribute to or disturbs political debate in 'new
democracies' that have yet little experience with democratic discourse?  The author conclude that one of the main functions of humour is to help translate 'imported' Western practices into local ones in as much as that it brings together seemingly incompatible dimensions of tradition and modernity in one discourse, with which space is created for new practices to arise.

11h00 – 12h30

Paper 2
Acculturation and dialogicality

Chair: Alex Gillespie (University of Stirling, UK)

Enhancing the dialogical self through acculturation

Larry J. Krafft (Temple University, USA)

Constructivism and complexity perspectives are applied to understanding enhancement of the dialogical self through acculturation processes. The individual is defined variously in different cultures, from a dialogically systems-nested entity to one who is uniquely separated. The acculturation process entails degrees of immersion of the group or person with the dominant culture, affecting and changing as the culture is also affected, yielding an emergence of shared culture. Interactive diverse sources and forms of feedback form adaptive responses. As these complex-adaptive phenomena unfold the culture and its relational components, including the individual, self-organize. The nature, speed and impact of emergence and self-organization are unpredictable as these rarely take place as controllable and incrementally-paced processes. Complexity perspectives promote appreciation for deviance, search for pattern and recognition that significant change takes place in often-surprising spurts. As experienced cultural divergence and uncertainty increases the possibility for enhanced levels of an integrated adaptive dialogical self with a sense of place and agency increases. The paper will examine complexity understandings and acculturation dynamics through specific case examples and applications.

Us” and “them” in cultural identification. The need of the “others” for founding and re-founding ourselves

María J. Marco-Macarro & José A. Sánchez-Medina (Pablo de Olavide University, Spain)
This paper approaches the ways through which people talk about their cultural communities and by doing this, people create the cultural community in itself and re-create them, and themselves as well. This construction is not made in a void, but over the course of social interactions by which people are engaged intersubjectively in dialogue with others who sometimes go into cooperation, or sometimes confrontation. Taking up the idea of Bakhtin about the non-selfsufficiency, most often identities are defined in contrast to others, in such way that the identification of a “them” becomes necessary in order to build an “us”. Those others are useful and required to build the own identity, sometimes through differences, or through similarities. The meaning of this alter will be closely related with the socio-historical setting of people who identify themselves. Settings of historical-political transitions –as with the attainment of democracy, or the consolidation of inner communities- are a good field of study on that role of others in collective identity. This paper focuses on that topic, analysing the discourse of two generations in several discussion groups about Andalusian cultural identity, and doing our observations on who are those them, required in regards to talking about “us-andalusians”.

Adapting to a new culture: The multivoiced character of meaning construction of Iranian migrants in the Netherlands

Annet D. J. te Lindert (Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands)

When an individual speaks as ‘Iranian/Dutch’, who is exactly speaking: ‘I’ as an Iranian or as a Dutch(wo)man? Migrants who try to adapt to a new society have to deal with their own challenges. It is a never ending individual process of meaning construction. Adapting to a new culture assumes that it is possible for an individual to know and understand two different cultures. This concept is defined by LaFromboise as the ‘Alternation Model’. According to Hermans & Kempen the self or identity can be conceived of as a multivoiced self. These two theoretical concepts are brought together in this valuation research of Iranian migrants in the Netherlands. Three voices or cultural positions are distinguished in the present research (a) Iranian (b) Dutch (c) Iranian/Dutch. Iranian participants were invited to tell their comprehensive self-narratives and constructed 799 valuations. Participants labelled their valuations with positive and negative feelings per cultural I-position. In this way their psychological adaptation into Dutch culture could be uncovered.

Introducing the body to culture

Jutta König (University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands)

In this paper I shall follow up on the presentation at the conference in Warsaw where I explored novelty in a personal position dialogue as a step in the acculturation process. I shall present the data of a research project where Adult Global Nomads were invited to identify their personal cultural positions and conduct a repositioning exercise. These positions and statements were rated on twenty feelings using a five point scale, using the Self Confrontation Method. Different personal cultural positions carry specific emotional chords depending on their prominence in the personal position repertoire.

The results of this research show how the dominant Dutch culture nestles itself in the personal position repertoire of migrants. Strategies for dealing with the conflicting influences of a monocultural environment and a multilayered self are unveiled such as anger, hiding, silence, selective disclosure and disenfranchising parts of self.

13h45 – 15h15

Symposium 3
Psychotherapy and changing processes

Miguel Gonçalves, Marlene Matos, Armanda Gonçalves & Anita Santos (University of Minho, Portugal)

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