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Title: A Bakhtinian perspective on collective learning : an approach based on dialogue, polyphony and the carnivalesque
Author: Pas, Annette
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 1907
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis describes an approach to study collective learning processes. It was inspired by concepts first introduced by the Russian literary theorist and philosopher, Mikhail Bakhtin. The thesis argues that Bakhtin's concepts are highly relevant to the study of collective learning as they point to the potential for changes that .artia' from dialogic tensions both within and between the modes of speech ("speech genres" in Bakhtinian terms) that people use in their everyday talk, and they provide us with new metaphors-to think about how we theorize about people's learning. Insights from the approach developed in the study are compared to insights associated with established theories of collective learning. The approach was developed in a study of the learning of a group of parents who participated in a course entitled 'A Child Protection Course for Parents.' The notion of speech genre was used in the study to explore how people engaged in distinct but interrelated spheres of activity develop relatively distinct forms of social language. The concept of polyphony was used as a perspective to write and theorize about learning, which allows us to visualize unfinalizability by portraying different voices without merging them into more one-sided interpretations. This concept explains how the author identified the different languages used by the course members, as well as how the voice of the author dialogised with the voices of the people written about in the study. Bakhtin's writing about the carnivalesque was used to reflect on the liberating and transformative potential of laughter. The thesis conceptualised the learning of the group as dialogising. The Bakhtin-inspired 'approach that was developed illuminated how, as they worked to analyse complex, imaginary scenarios of childcare needs, the parents dialogised between different social languages and developed a new speech genre. This is described in the study as a new "language of tolerance" that differed greatly from the "language of judgment" which participants had used at the beginning of the course. The Bakhtinian approach gives us a unique understanding into learning by interpreting practice as subtle changes in speech genres that develop in a process of dialogising between languages. It is suggested that Bakhtin's concepts can add considerably to dialectic and monologic perspectives used in existing learning theories
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available