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A Three Dimensional Model of the Dialogical Self John Barresi Dalhousie University.

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1 A Three Dimensional Model of the Dialogical Self John Barresi Dalhousie University

2 Abstract The dialogical self has been fruitfully conceived as a multidimensional framework, where an individual’s representations of selves are depicted in an intrapersonal - or an intrapersonal and extrapersonal - space that transforms through time (Hermans, 2000; Hermans & Hermans-Jansen, 2002; Kunnen & Bosma, 2000; Raggatt, 2000a, 2000b). In the present paper an individual’s representations of selves at a particular time are organized in a three dimensional model that transforms through time. The vertical dimension of the model represents the individual’s degree of self- reflection, where hierarchically subordinate selves are sometimes organized under higher order integrative selves. The horizontal dimension focuses on how the individual conceives of the temporal extension of selves, where some may be temporally narrow and localized, while others extend throughout a life-time. Finally, the lateral dimension represents the individual’s understanding of how personal selves connect with the selves of others. Sometimes these selves are conceived as distinct from each other, but at other times the boundary between self and other is indistinct or integrated in a shared ‘self’ of a group or culture. The main focus of my discussion will be on how this three dimensional model of selves emerges in early development and transforms throughout the life-time of the individual.

3 Raggatt’s Multidimensional space of selves and their attachments

4 Hermans’ multivoiced space of selves

5 Hermans’ interaction of multivoiced selves

6 scattered pattern of voices in young adolescence Later developmental pattern of voices for someone with a strong need for coherence Kunnen & Bosma’s Developmental perspective on the dialogical self

7 The infant’s dialogical selves: semi-independent body parts, each of which has “objects” to which they are attached

8 The infant’s dialogical selves bodily and social

9 One-year-old’s dialogical selves ‘we’ versus ‘they’ (Stranger effect)

10 Two-year-old’s dialogical selves self versus others (even Mom!)

11 The development of self-consciousness from infancy to age 4

12 From Extended to Narrative Selves Once the child conceives of self as extended in time he or she can conceive of situational or dispositional selves that also extend through time or reappear from time to time. These extended dispositional and situational selves later become dialogically related to each other as conflict arises between them, or inconsistency is perceived. This process of dialogue typically begins in adolescence. Narrative is eventually used to integrate as much as possible these dispositional or situational selves, which range from the distant past through the present and into the future.

13 Extended Self across the Life-span





18 Conclusions The dialogical self seen at a particular point in time is composed of selves and attachments whose origin, transformation and significance are distributed across time. In order to more fully understand the dialogical self we need to uncover this temporally organized transformational structure. Self-narrative, with a specific intent to reconstruct past (and, possibly, future) global points-of-view, might open up new areas for understanding the dialogical self.

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