Social education through the lens of Bakhtinian theory
A review of Bakhtin in the Fullness of Time: Bakhtinian Theory and the Process of Social Education, Edited by Craig Brandist, Michael E. Gardiner, E. Jayne White and Carl Mika. L.: Routledge. 2020. 160 p.
The review of the collection of articles Bakhtin in the Fullness of Time: Bakhtinian Theory and the Process of Social Education represents an analysis of the perspectives, main trends, and interpretations of key points, ideas, and concepts of M. M. Bakhtin in the contemporary theory and practice of Social Education.
The book’s nine chapters are grouped within three problem areas, researched by the book’s contributors. This is, in the first place, a re-establishment of those philosophical and sociological sources that trace back to the roots of Bakhtin’s early views that had defined the nature of his responses to the challenges of his time in his early philosophical texts, books about Dostoevsky and books about bildungsroman. Another field of examination is Bakhtin's late dialogue with his contemporaries. Sometimes this dialogue is active and obvious, as it happens in the situation with the latest aesthetic and literary trends in Russia at the beginning of the 1920s. Sometimes this dialogue turns out to be ambiguous, therefore researchers can only guess how to reconstruct it, basing their views on the complementarity of Bakhtin’s ideas and Lev Vygotsky or Paulo Freire’s ones.
An equally important aspect of this collection is a number of articles devoted to how Bakhtin's theory is transformed into "classroom practice", whether it concerns the use of dialogue and its capabilities in interaction with foreigners, providing educational opportunities to the most economically vulnerable segments of South African society, or communication with preschoolers in kindergarten.
The authors of the book managed to create a convincing picture of how Bakhtinian theory is becoming one of the most important elements of contemporary theory and practice of education. At the same time, not only Bakhtinian ideas, primarily the concepts of dialogue, polyphony, carnival, and chronotope, are important, but also that free polyphony, which puts into effect any creative practice.