Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In English, Dialogic is a term used by the Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin in his work of literary theory, The Dialogic Imagination. Bakhtin contrasts the dialogic and the "monologic" work of literature. The dialogic work is in continual dialogue with other works of literature. It is not merely a work that answers, corrects, silences, or extends a previous work, but one that is being informed and informing the previous work. Dialogic literature is in communication with multiple works. This is not merely a matter of influence, for the dialogue extends in both directions, and the previous work of literature is as altered by the dialogue as the present one is.
The term 'dialogic', however, does not just apply to literature. For Bakhtin, all language - indeed, all thought - was dialogic. What this means is that everything anybody ever says always exists in response to things that have been said before and in anticipation of things that will be said in response. We never, in other words, speak in a vacuum. As a result, all language (and the ideas which language contains and communicates) is dynamic, relational and enaged in a process of endless redescriptions of the world.
Bakhtin's work was rediscovered in France, the United States and United Kingdom in the 1970s and 1980s, and it seemed to fit with the then-nascent concepts of "intertextuality." More recently, his concept of dialogism has been seen by many as especially relevant to the world of online interaction. Wikipedia is an intensely dialogic phenomenon, doing away with the idea of knowledge as emanating from single, authoritative, closed (what Bakhtin would call 'monologic') sources and instead embracing the idea of knowledge as collective, relational and dynamic.
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