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September 2021

Mapping the dialogical self: Towards a rationale and method of assessment

Journal/Book: Eur J Personality. 2000; 14: Baffins Lane Chichester, W Sussex PO19 1UD, England. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 65-90.

Abstract: It is widely believed that the well-adjusted individual has an integrated, coherent and autonomous 'core self' or 'ego identity'. In this paper it is argued that a 'multi-voiced' or 'dialogical self' provides a better model. In this model the self has no central cove; rather, it is the product of alternative and often opposing narrative voices. Each voice has its own life story; each competes with other voices for dominance in thought and action; and each is constituted by a different set of affectively-charged attachments: to people, events, objects and our own bodies. It is argued that by exploring these attachments the dominant narrative voices of the self may be identified. A semi-structured interview protocol, the Personality Web, is introduced as a method for studying the dialogical self. In phase 1, 24 attachments are elicited in four categories: people (6), events (6), places and objects (8), and orientations to body parts (4). During interviewing, the history and meaning of each attachment is explored. In phase 2, participants were asked to group their attachments by strength of association into clusters, and multidimensional scaling was used to map the individual's 'web' of attachments. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, the strategy of clustering attachments was shown to be successful as a means for empirically examining the dialogical self. Two case studies of midlife adults ave described to illustrate the arguments and method proposed.

Note: Article Raggatt PTF, James Cook Univ N Queensland, Sch Psychol & Sociol, Townsville, Qld 4811, AUSTRALIA


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