Caught between two worlds: Bakhtin's dialogism in the exile experience

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32 Scopus citations


Locked in a Classical paradigm, monological thinking found in most contemporary research denies the possibility of contradicting ideas existing simultaneously. Mikhail Bakhtin's dialogical ontology, however, supplies a new polylogical perspective with which to view language. When Bakhtin's dialogism is used to revisit the discourse of international exiles who have come to the United States of America, a more complex and sophisticated understanding of their lives and experiences emerges. Their contradictions, simultaneities, and conflicts are recognized, not as psychological flaws or illogical thinking, but as manifestations of the centripetal/centrifugal forces at work in their lives. Furthermore, a dialogical analysis of exile discourse has engendered the identification of four recurring dialectical motifs previously unrecognized by monological analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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