Bakhtin’s Theories of Double-voiced Discourse

  • Judith Baxter


This chapter explores the philosophical background of the term ‘double-voicing’ by presenting Mikhail Bakhtin’s (1963 [1984]) theorisations of ‘double-voiced discourse’ (DvD). Bakhtin’s definitions of ‘single-voiced discourse’ (SvD) are reviewed first, followed by his distinctions between three types of double-voiced discourse. I argue that the third type — discourse as ‘a sideways glance at someone else’s hostile word’ — is most suited to the theoretical terrain explored in this book. A range of closely related concepts developed by Bakhtin are also reviewed, such as polyphony and social heteroglossia. The chapter then assesses how scholars have adapted and modernised double-voicing by means of concepts such as stylisation and super-diversity. The chapter concludes by proposing that double-voicing is an illuminating concept for explaining how speakers negotiate power relations in educational and professional contexts.


double-voiced discourse heteroglossia polyphony single-voiced discourse stylisation super-diversity 


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© Judith Baxter 2014

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  • Judith Baxter

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