Relational Becoming: Considering Classroom Dialogue in Ethico-ontological Terms

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David Sabey


This paper draws on Bakhtin’s ethico-ontological vision of dialogue to theorize “relational becoming” on a micro-level. To do so, it introduces three “ethical dimensions of dialogue” (responsibility, responsiveness, and capacitation) and develops the interrelated concepts of addressability and presencing as analytical lenses. Drawing on transcript data from a series of high school and college students’ discussions about controversial political issues, the analysis examines how interlocutors made themselves addressable, addressed each other, and were “presenced” in dialogue. It also discusses the ethico-ontological potential of these interactions, identifying a problematic tendency among interlocutors to not “show up” in verbal discourse in a variety of ways, including, in particular, reliance on abstractions.

Article Details

How to Cite
Sabey, D. (2022). Relational Becoming: Considering Classroom Dialogue in Ethico-ontological Terms. Dialogic Pedagogy: An International Online Journal, 10, A1-A29.
Author Biography

David Sabey, Equipo Academy, Las Vegas

David Sabey completed his doctoral studies at Vanderbilt University. As a teacher-researcher, he approaches questions about classroom discourse and education more generally in ethical terms. He currently teaches high school English, where he appreciates the opportunity to continue exploring these issues in practice.


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