John Barresi
Dalhousie University, Department of Psychology, Hallifax, Canada

E-mail:jbarresi@is.dal.ca
Website: http://jbarresi.psychology.dal.ca/

 

A THREE-DIMENSIONAL MODEL OF THE DIALOGICAL SELF

 

The dialogical self has been fruitfully conceived as a multidimensional framework, where an individual's representations of selves are depicted in an intrapersonal - or an intrapersonal and extrapersonal - space that transforms through time (Hermans, 2000; Hermans & Hermans-Jansen, 2002; Kunnen & Bosma, 2000; Raggatt, 2000a, 2000b). In the present paper an individual's representations of selves at a particular time are organized in a three-dimensional model that transforms through time. The vertical dimension of the model represents the individual's degree of self-reflection, where hierarchically subordinate selves are sometimes organized under higher order integrative selves. The horizontal dimension focuses on how the individual conceives of the temporal extension of selves, where some may be temporally narrow and localized, while others extend throughout a life-time. Finally, the lateral dimension represents the individual's understanding of how personal selves connect with the selves of others. Sometimes these selves are conceived as distinct from each other, but at other times the boundary between self and other is indistinct or integrated in a shared 'self' of a group or culture. The main focus of my discussion will be on how this three-dimensional model of selves emerges in early development and transforms throughout the life-time of the individual.