Sociogenesis of Language: Perspectives on Dialogism and on Activity Theory

  • I. Marková


Due to the increasing interest in Bakhtin’s work by students and researchers in the social sciences and humanities, much attention has recently been focused on dialogism as an epistemological approach to the study of mind and language (e.g., Holquist, 1990; Marková, 1990; Wertsch, 1990, 1991). Dialogism appears to offer an epistemology that is suited, significantly more than mainstream cognitivism, to the study of mind and language as social phenomena in their change and development. Like cognitivism, dialogism crosses the boundaries between disciplines, capturing interest of scholars in such diverse subjects as linguistics, sociology, communication, psychology, anthropology and literature. Unlike cognitivism, however, the concerns of dialogism reach far beyond those of the cognitive aspects of mind and language. Dialogism encompasses the totality of human agency and conceives it as situated in socio-historical phenomena and in culture. While the focus of cognitivism is on the individual, dialogism, by definition, concerns the relationships between human agents. Such relationships can be those between the self and other, the individual and society, or those between some aspects of human social activities, with language and communication being considered as the most fundamental among them.


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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1994

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