• Examining the self-other dialogue through `spirit' and `soul'.

      Sullivan, Paul W. (2007)
      Bakhtin¿s dialogism is widely used to understand the mutual constitution of self and other in action. In this article, however, I argue that there is a second hinge to Bakhtin¿s work that is currently underemphasized in the literature. This is his emphasis on the sense of action that accompanies dialogue. Bakhtin refers to action as sensed as `spirit¿. In contrast, he refers to action relating to the other as `soul¿. In this article, I outline these distinctions in Bakhtin¿s thought before arguing that there is sometimes an intriguing and imaginative struggle between spirit and soul in dialogue. In this struggle, the distinctions between fantasy and reality can become blurred as the self risks potentially life-changing encounters with genuine others. The implications that this has for research practice in socio-cultural psychology are drawn out. In particular, I argue that the `spirit-soul¿ distinction introduces a humanistic and optimistic view of the self-other relationship into cultural psychology.
    • Technologies of the Self: Habitus and Capacities.

      Burkitt, Ian (2002)
      This paper analyses Foucault's notion of technologies of the self, but does so through a non-Foucauldian style of analysis. It traces the use of the term technology back to the works of Aristotle and elaborates upon this definition. Here, technology is seen to be central not only in the production of works, but also in the production of selves. This idea is then developed through the work of other thinkers who have a similar technological view of the production of the self, particularly Marcel Mauss and John Dewey. Another important element emerges from their works, which is the production of self through the technology of habit or habitus. It is argued that habitus is not a socially determinate concept, because it allows for the development of both practical and critical reason, both of which permit the agent some freedom in their activities. However, it is possible to use the connotation of habitus with routine to understand something of the nature of social power. The concept of capacity is also introduced to extend the self-reflexive and knowing aspect of habitus, showing how this is an essential feature of the agential self. However, it is argued that although the development of practical and critical reason allows for reflexivity, the self is always grounded in technologies of the body and self, which constitute the aspect of the self reflected upon. Reflexivity, then, is a secondary and partial aspect of the self.