Encyclopediaof—isms

Dialogic

“Representation functions less like a model of a one-way transmitter and more like the model of a dialogue —it is, they say, dialogic. What sustains this ‘dialogue’ is the presence of shared cultural codes, which cannot guarantee that meaning will remain stable forever.”
—Stuart Hall

In the introduction of ‘Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices’, Stuart Hall considers the practice of ‘making culture’ as a dialogue. He emphasizes not only the production but also ‘the exchange of meanings between members of the group’. “Speaker and hearer or writer and reader are active participants in a process which —since they often exchange roles— is always double-sided, always interactive. Representation functions less like a model of a one-way transmitter and more like the model of a dialogue —it is, they say, dialogic. What sustains this ‘dialogue’ is the presence of shared cultural codes, which cannot guarantee that meaning will remain stable forever.” (Hall, 2003, p. 10)

“It is the participants in a culture who give meaning to people, objects and events. Things ‘in themselves’ rarely if ever have any, one, single, fixed and unchanging meaning. …It is by our use of things, and what we say think and feel about them -how we represent them- that we give them a meaning.” (Hall, 2003, p. 3)