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Methods for dialogical research

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Ivana Marková and Paul Sullivan had a Seminar about: Methods for dialogical research

Are there special methods for dialogical analysis? Or can any existing method be used to analyse dialogue? Ivana Marková and Paul Sullivan, two experts on dialogical research, discuss what Bakhtin brings to methodological analysis. Ivana started the dialogue explaining how dialogue is a unique relation between the Ego and Alter; it is rooted in history and culture; the Ego and Alter communicate internally and externally, in and through different channels, and express simultaneously a variety of meanings and thoughts (what we often refer to as heteroglossia, polysemy and polyphasia). This complexity of dialogue naturally raises methodological challenges and questions for the researcher or practitioner, as Paul discussed. He questioned how well-equipped existing methods are for meeting the challenges of dialogue. In particular, he examined the challenge of understanding the literary quality of the author-hero relationship in discourse, paying particular regard to how Bakhtin sets about understanding Dostoevsky's novels with the aim of illustrating how this orientation to dialogue could be of benefit to social science research.

This debate has developed from discussions from a MMIIDA (Migration, Multiculturalism, Integration & Identity) conference at City University on 13 – 14 Sept 2012. The MMIIDA (Migration, Multiculturalism, Integration and Identity – Dialogical Approaches) Network was established in November 2008. This network brings together a multi-disciplinary group of academics, practitioners and researchers interested in developing dialogical approaches to migration, multiculturalism, integration and identity. The conference organisers, Kesi Mahrendran and Sarah Scuzzarello, made a few introductory comments to open the dialogue.

Ivana Marková is Professor Emeritus in Psychology, University of Stirling, and Visiting Professor in the Department of Social Psychology, LSE. Current research includes the theory of social representations, dialogicality, trust and responsibility. She is a Fellow of the British Academy, of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the BPS. Most recent books include: Marková, I.: Dialogicality and Social Representations (2003/2005, CUP); Marková, I. (ed.): Trust and Democratic Transition in Post-Communist Europe (OUP, 2004); Moscovici, S. and Marková, I.: The Making of Modern Social Psychology (2006, Polity Press); Marková, I., Linell, P., Grossen, M. and Salazar Orvig, A.: Dialogue in Focus Groups (2007, Equinox); Marková, I. and Gillespie, A. (eds.): Trust and Distrust: Sociocultural Perspectives (2008, Information Age); Marková, I. and Gillespie, A. (eds.). Trust and Conflict: Representations, Culture, Dialogue (2011, Routledge).

Paul Sullivan lectures social psychology at the University of Bradford.  He is currently interested in intra and inter-dialogical relationships, and their mediation through feelings of authority and carnival.  He has brought this theoretical understanding of identity to bear on qualitative methods and aesthetic experience more generally.