Dialogized heteroglossia

“Mikhail Bakhtin… developed a view of culture and discourse that’s been translated as the idea of dialogized heteroglossia: Many voices speak at once, rarely taking turns, more often speaking on top of each other while still responding to each other. Such heteroglossia is conflict-laden, with moments of mutual understanding subsumed into a larger swirl of winner-take-all efforts at persuasion, with shifting and incomplete rules. Within that frame, two competing forces are always present both in the whole of culture and in subsets of culture – that of spinning apart and pulling together. These centrifugal and centripetal forces aren’t always equal. In some moments the impulse to find harmony looks more powerful. At other times the scattering of meaning and agreements seems to rule. But neither force ever pushes the other fully out. In any setting, both are at work – always… (We) might benefit by rethinking ecclesiology in light of this view, with centripetal and centrifugal forces always in play, and wonder how God’s Spirit might be at work in the tension.” – Wes Avram


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