A critical reflection on dialogical approaches

S. Akkerman, T. Niessen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractOther research output


A dialogical approach seems to be valuable because it provides an initial way of accounting for the complexity of social practices. However, at the same time a dialogical approach has limitations and forces researchers to be modest in scientific claims. In this paper we try to pinpoint the epistemological viewpoint underlying dialogical theories, and following from that describe its strength in understanding complexity. Specifically, we see its strength in moving beyond dichotomies like the individual and the social, the part and the whole, mind and matter, sections of time, and knower and known. Following, we describe how dialogical theories also risk fixating the fluid that they aim to leave intact. Based on illustrations from our own research we will show how concepts typical to dialogical theories tend to be transformed into fixed categories in understanding phenomena in specific ways. By making this point we intend to raise awareness about and consequently scrutinize and discuss our own concepts and methodologies.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2008
EventICDS 2008 - Cambridge, UK
Duration: 25 Aug 200829 Aug 2008


ConferenceICDS 2008
CityCambridge, UK

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