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Bertau, Marie-Cécile (2014): Exploring language as the “in-between”. In: Theory & Psychology, Vol. 24, No. 4: pp. 524-541
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Abstract

Assuming a performative notion of language, this contribution addresses how language functions as a symbolic means and asks for its function for the dialogical self. In accordance with a non-individualistic notion, individuals are related to each other within and by virtue of an in-between. This in-between is called “spacetime of language”: a dynamic evolving across time, perceived as linguistic forms with their chronotopology and the positionings of the performers (self as-whom to other as-whom). With respect to the linguistic forms, the specificity of language functioning is described by Bühler’s term of displacement. The effect of displacement is to generate sharedness by inducing a movement the partners follow, going beyond their actual, sensitive contact. Symbolic displacement, expanding Bühler’s notion, is particularly interesting with regard to the dialogical self: it permits the social construction of several perspectives on self, other, and reality—positions and voices informing the self’s performances.