reassertion: dialogue not discourse

Amherst, MA

Re-reading this entry, “no mother tongue” (inspired by yesterday’s thrilling conversation with Rhona and Katya, grin) what re-jumps out at me, post-fieldwork, is “how language makes human interrelations visible.
Yes. That is what my dissertation will strive to show. From the basis of choices that Members of the European Parliament make to use or not use the simultaneous interpreters (or, to minimize and under-utilize the system of simultaneous interpretation instead of embracing and maximizing its culture-creating potentials) one can describe the current structural/power relations. From a clear picture of ‘here-and-now,’ and the judicious use of institutional and cultural theories, I suggest one can also project the continuing or resultant outcomes of these power relations into the future.
But – and here is where I continue to experiment with action research – if I spell out the projection, then I contribute to its manifestation. Instead of giving more power to an already established momentum of what seems pre-determined, I aim to present the logic of language choice with a scattering of openings that invite readers (as interlocutors) to choose among alternatives. Rather than writing in such a way that interlocutors are compelled by the (presumed!) power of my voice to accept/resist or otherwise engage only with a single, central, fixed point of argumentation, a variety of modes and unfoldings of communicative interaction should not only be possible, but actually occur.
Then we enter dialogue, and have a chance to reconfigure discourse.

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