Gender, embodiment, and positioning in the dialogical self: do men and women see eye to eye?

Raggatt, Peter (2011) Gender, embodiment, and positioning in the dialogical self: do men and women see eye to eye? In: Märtsin, Mariann, Wagoner, Brady, Aveling, Emma-Louise, Kadianaki, Irini, and Whittaker, Lisa, (eds.) Dialogicality in Focus: challenges to theory, method and application. Psychology Research Progress . Nova Science, New York City, NY, USA, pp. 205-219.

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Abstract

Positioning theory first emerged through efforts to analyze discourse in micro-social encounters, but it has also been adapted to account for the dynamics of conflict in a 'multi-voiced' dialogical self (see Raggatt, 2007). In this approach a person's repertoire of opposing I-positions is thought to have origins both 'inside' in terms of reflexive personal conflicts (e.g., over esteem or agency needs), and 'outside' in terms of social constructions (e.g., arising from role conflicts and from embedding in power and status hierarchies). This chapter describes findings from a survey of positioning in the dialogical self that focuses on gender differences in positioning conflicts. Opposing I-positions were obtained from 109 participants by asking them to sort similarities and differences across self-reported life history material. The relationship of body image to gender and self-representation was also a focus, and so participants were asked to sort 'liked' and 'disliked' body parts along with the life history material. Sources of conflict between I-positions given in the life history material were then coded for reflexive (personal) and social forms of positioning. Males and females were found to differ markedly in positioning styles. In women, esteem, communion, and cross-gender conflicts were the focus, while in men agency and independence issues were more problematic. There were also marked differences in the embodiment of I-positions. Females associated their faces with positive I-positions, and their lower bodies (legs and buttocks) with negative positions. Conversely, men associated their faces with negative I-positions and their torsos with positive ones. The findings are interpreted as evidence for the disjunction of embodied experience across the sexes. It is proposed that problems of communication emerge between the sexes in part because males and females use quite different modes of embodying self-expression. The results are discussed from the perspectives of dialogical self theory, positioning theory, social role theory, and the embodiment of self esteem.

Item ID: 15155
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-61122-817-5
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2011 22:49
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170109 Personality, Abilities and Assessment @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 50%
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