• A Dialogical approach to experience-based inquiry

      Sullivan, Paul W.; McCarthy, J. (2005)
      The aim of this article is to describe a dialogical approach to inquiry that differs somewhat from those that are now influential in psychology, including Shotter's, Wertsch's, Hermans's and Hicks¿s. Although these authors have very usefully drawn attention to dialogical approaches to understanding experience, the academic style of their writing underplays their own responsivity as participants in these dialogues. Whereas some adopt an authoritative or Magistral genre in reporting dialogue with participants, others adopt an explicitly Socratic dialogue that nonetheless tends towards monologue. We suggest that these ambiguities and paradoxes can be traced to Dilthey and Gadamer and the debate associated with their work about the relative weight to be given to content and experience in interpreting dialogue. Furthermore, we use Bakhtin's classification of genres of dialogue to argue for the benefits of a Menippean genre of dialogue, based on imagination and ethics, both as a corrective to the tendency to monologue in Socratic and Magistral dialogues and as a contribution to our understanding of the possibilities inherent in dialogical inquiry. In particular, Menippean dialogue points us in the direction of inquiry as a personal and creative act that places voices (including the authorial voice) in contact with each other with the capacity to enrich and change each other.