The title of speech for school:
Processes and Practices in Writing. A Conceptualization from a Dialogical Perspective
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My name is Andrea Karsten, I am a 28-years-old female PhD student of Linguistics and Psycholinguistics at Munich University, Germany. In October 2007 I began my doctoral studies and in July 2008 I started working on my psycholinguistic dissertation project titled “Processes and Practices of Writing. A Conceptualization from a Dialogical Perspective”. The dissertation is supervised by Prof. Dr. W. Schulze (Institute of Linguistics, Munich University) and funded by ‘Universität Bayern e.V.’, an association composed of the eleven universities of Bavaria.
The aim of my PhD project is to investigate writing, or as L.S. Vygotsky would put it: ‘written speech’, from a cultural-historical perspective building on a dialogic understanding of all language related processes. I trace my theoretical position back to the notion of language and thought as formulated in Russian and Soviet psychology and linguistics of the 1920s and 1930s by scholars such as L.P. Jakubinsky, L.S. Vygotsky, V.N. Voloshinov and M.M. Bakhtin. Data for the PhD research comes from reconstructions of writing processes and writing practices in videotaped dialogues of writers (pupils, scientists, journalists) and myself. The method I use to elicit these reconstructions is the dialogically based method of autoconfrontation developed in workplace psychology (e.g. Clot & Faïta 2000). This method, adapted to writing practices, consists of two stages. Firstly, everyday writing sequences in their natural setting are videotaped. Secondly, the writer and I co-analyze the videotaped writing activity, which leads towards writing process reconstructions. These writer-researcher-interactions are also videotaped and provide the material I analyze subsequently. In my qualitative analysis of the data I plan to work with concepts such as ‘genre’ and ‘style’ that stem from the above-named context of Russian and Soviet linguistics and psychology in the early 20th century.
Currently I am writing the theoretically oriented chapters of my dissertation and starting to transcribe the videotaped dialogues. By the time of ISCAR Summer School I plan to be involved with analyzing the material. This is also one of the fields in which I hope to profit from the Summer School. What has to be considered methodologically from a cultural-historical perspective if one aims at analyzing such data as reconstructions and interpretations of writing processes writers produce vis-à-vis the picture of themselves writing? The Summer School also promises to give insights in interpreting and contextualizing the original works of the Russian and Soviet scholars I am working with. I find it important to read and discuss the (translated) original sources of the specific perspective on language that cultural-historical and dialogical theory offer. I am keen in working out central concepts in detail and in learning how two extend those of the concepts, which are only sketched in the original texts, respecting their primordial philosophical background.
Besides the already named topics of interest, in the ISCAR Summer School I am hoping to learn more about how to practically apply cultural-historical theory in further education. Since 2007 I teach seminars on communication and writing for students and academic teachers. I have always tried to apply my scientific perspective on language and learning to teaching and am further interested in doing so, maybe even as a future field of study.
My interest in cultural-historical and dialogical theory was strengthened by a number of seminars and conferences I attended: an interuniversity colloquium on L.P. Jakubinsky, organized by Dr. M.-C. Bertau (Munich) and Dr. J. Friedrich (Geneva) in 2005, the 5th International Conference on the Dialogical Self in Cambridge, UK, in 2008, and the 2nd International Interdisciplinary Conference on Dialogism in Mikhail Bakhtin at Stockholm University, Sweden, in 2009. Furthermore I was able to present and discuss sketches of my work at the 4th, 5th and 6th Workshop ‘Tätigkeitstheorie & kulturhistorische Schule’ in Ohrbeck, Germany, an annual meeting of cultural-historical and activity-theoretic researchers in Germany, in 2007, 2008 and 2009. I hope that me visiting the ISCAR Summer School will provide a special possibility for exchange with other cultural-historically and dialogically interested PhD students and academics and deepen my knowledge of cultural-historical theory.
Karsten, A. (2009). Vielfalt des Schreibens. Zur Dialogizität schriftlicher Äußerungen im Spannungsfeld von Konventionalisierung und Positionierung. Berlin: Lehmanns Media.
Surd-Büchele, St. & Karsten, A. (in press). Vygotskijs Konzeption von Schreiben. In: Giest, H. & Rückriem, G. (Eds.): Tätigkeitstheorie und (Wissens-)Gesellschaft. Fragen und Antwor¬ten aus tätigkeitstheoretischer Forschung und Praxis. Berlin: Lehmanns Media.
Andrea Karsten “Processes and Practices in Writing. A Conceptualization from a Dialogical Perspective”