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Re: [xmca] Wertsch proposes two distinct functions of text: univocal and dialogic

Something like a "univocal" mechanism seems useful to me to point to
communicative acts in relatively ossified/fossilized cultural settings,
with the caveat that there aren't any "permanent" such settings.  So,
clocking-in/clocking-out and laboring in a factory creates a social setting
that imposes a high degree of univocality (as well as unidirectionality of
power relations).

But, it seems to me even more useful to think of the dialogic function as
the "always on" communicative and meaning-generating mechanism --even in
situations that are ostensibly "only" univocal.  So, even when the meaning
that is to be "conveyed" ( I prefer to say generated-anew ) is
genre-typical and uncontroversial, the very function of recalling such
meaning to mind in social interaction seems to me a (re)creative act.  Even
if "nothing" in the message/meaning being conveyed has changed, certainly
the speakers/listeners change in time, and so there's no predicting how the
"same message" will be recreated in dialogue.

The more general way to think about it for me is by way of implication:
 ceaseless change and motion in both our material and semantic worlds
implies the dialogic function of communication (and cognition, or
commognition, as Sfard would say).

So, I guess my answer is that I agree with the univocal/dialogic
distinction as a useful heuristic, especially in distinguishing highly
structured and power-asymmetric worlds (like school) from others that are
much more playful and imaginatively elastic.


On Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 10:57 AM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> I have been re-reading chapter 4 [The Multivoicedness of Meaning] from
> James Wertsch's book  "Voices of the Mind"
> I have recently been questioning how "judgement" links with "action" and
> how Bahktin's ideas may offer some insights.  This question brought me to
> exploring Wertsch's elaboration of the writings of Yuri Lotman and Lotman's
> proposal that texts can function in more than one way. Lotman assumes a
> functional dualism of texts in a cultural system. The two basic functions
> are to:
>  - convey meanings [when the social languages of the speaker and the
> listener coincide within a univocal function] &
> - to generate new meanings [the multivoicedness or dialogic function]
> Is this distinction which validates both functions of communication - the
> *transmission* or *conduit* metaphor of communication AND the dialogic
> function which requires judgement within particular concrete situations a
> distinction which others agree with? [see page 73 to 78 for Wertsch's
> perspective]
> Larry
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