Dialogical Theory of Selfhood

Tiago Bento, Carla C. Cunha and João Salgado

in The Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195396430
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Dialogical Theory of Selfhood


Dialogism is presented as a relational paradigm in which intersubjective and communicational relationship is considered the most appropriate to further explore and understand selfhood. In abandoning the paradigm of self-awareness for the comprehension of selfhood, dialogism attempts to elaborate on the importance of the intersubjective relationship to the constitution of the psychological domain. For that, the relationship is grounded in the postulate of radical otherness. This means that the irreducible asymmetry and difference between Self and Other is considered to open an ontological relational space with logical and pragmatic qualities within which processes of subjective and intersubjective meaning construction take place. The characteristics and processes inherent to this external communicational and intersubjective space are considered to mold the internal domain of selfhood that is seen as being structurally and functionally continuous and dependent on such external relational space and processes. Selfhood is then conceived as a product of the continuous dynamic processes that are established between the I (as center of experience), the other-in-me (as the background from which the I experiences the world), and internal audiences that shape the specific positioning of content and processes of subjectivity in the experiential and communicative moment. On this basis, the future challenges faced by dialogical theory of selfhood are addressed.

Keywords: dialogism; dialogical self; alterity; selfhood; subjectivity; intersubjectivity

Article.  13437 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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