Polyphony and Polyphasia in Self and Knowledge
The purpose in this paper is to contribute towards an understanding of the link beween plurality of self and knowledge. The paper relates the concept of cognitive polyphasia with Bakhtin's views on positioning and the polyphony of the person, and Hermans and Kempen's concept of the dialogical self. It links dialogical epistemology and ontology to argue that, (i) polyphony and polyphasia of self and knowledge are two sides of the same process, and (ii) our ability to position ourselves in relation to the knowledge of others explains how the meanings, practices and identities that co-exist within individuals and groups are put to use, enabling us to function in multiple relationships and contexts. The paper concludes by suggesting that identity and knowledge are inseparable from both the multiple relationships in which they develop and from processes of self-other positioning. Research on expert knowledge of homelessness amongst professionals working in the UK voluntary sector is briefly examined to illustrate the proposed theoretical argument.