Shi-xu
University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Northern Ireland (UK)

E-mail:x.shi@ulster.ac.uk

 

THE PERSON AND CULTURE AS A DISCURSIVE SPACE:
THE DIALOGICAL SELF IN LATE MODERNITY

 

One of the defining features of the late modern culture is uncertainty (Bauman 1998, 2001; Giddens 1991). It not just permeates many external aspects of human life, but also has come to affect personal subjective experience. Indeed, uncertainty has become one of the pervasive discourses in everyday life as well as in disciplinary circles. To this post-modern age of existential uncertainties, how do people respond? Caught up in this diverse, fragmented, fast-shifting and risk-prone world, how do they make sense of themselves in particular? In this presentation, I argue that, against the backdrop of existential conditions of uncertainty, dialogical self (DS) locates a discursive space in which the person and culture, individual and society, 'I' and the other, reflexively and continuously carry out dialogues with each other. The relationships that emerge from these dialogical negotiations - self-relationships - constitute a basic defensive mechanism, as it were, against the external conditions of uncertainty and insecurity. In this sense, DS's vision of the dialogical, discursive space of the person and culture interaction is a post-modern project.