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Other Voices: The Concept of Heteroglossia in Michael Brown's Concept of the Social

Allen Dunn (University of Tennessee, USA)

The Centrality of Sociality

ISBN: 978-1-80262-362-8, eISBN: 978-1-80262-361-1

Publication date: 12 December 2022


This chapter looks at the Bakhtinian account of language that Michael Brown presents in his The Concept of the Social in Uniting the Humanities and Social Sciences and suggests that it is in tension with his Rousseauean description of human sociality. Like Rousseau, Brown claims that human sociality derives from a recognition of mutual dependence that cements the disparate wills of individuals into a general will which enforces social equality and protects the rights of all. Brown argues that this fundamental human sociality is instantiated in language itself which he describes not as communication but as “an anti-telic moment of collective enunciation,” and he identifies this collective enunciation with Bakhtin's notion of heteroglossia. In doing so, however, he downplays the drama of individual and social struggle that is at the center of Bakhtin's work and thus underestimates its power as a force for social change.



Dunn, A. (2022), "Other Voices: The Concept of Heteroglossia in Michael Brown's Concept of the Social ", Halley, J.A. and Dahms, H.F. (Ed.) The Centrality of Sociality (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 39), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 175-181.



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