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Encyclopedia > Valentin Voloshinov
Valentin Voloshinov
Valentin Voloshinov

Valentin Nikolaevich Voloshinov (Russian: Валенти́н Никола́евич Воло́шинов) (1895June 13, 1936) was a Soviet/Russian linguist, whose work has been influential in the field of literary theory and Marxist theory of ideology. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Image File history File links Voloshinov. ... Image File history File links Voloshinov. ... Year 1895 (MDCCCXCV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 164th day of the year (165th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... CCCP redirects here. ... For the journal, see Linguistics (journal). ... Literary theory is the theory (or the philosophy) of the interpretation of literature and literary criticism. ... Marxism is both the theory and the political practice (that is, the praxis) derived from the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. ... An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ...


Written in the late 1920s in the USSR, Voloshinov's Marxism and the Philosophy of Language (tr.: Marksizm i Filosofiya Yazyka) attempts to incorporate the field of linguistics into Marxism. The book's main inspiration does not, however, come from previous Marxists, whom Voloshinov saw as largely apathetic towards the study of language. Instead, Voloshinov's theories are built on critical engagement with Wilhelm von Humboldt's concept of language as a continuous creative or 'generative' process, and with the view of language as a sign-system posited by Ferdinand de Saussure. To some extent, Voloshinov's linguistic thought was also mediated by the analyses of his Soviet contemporary Nikolai Marr, and by the work of the Crocean linguist Karl Vossler. The 1920s they were sexy referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually applied to America. ... There exist many possible systems for transliterating the Cyrillic alphabet of the Russian language to English or the Latin alphabet. ... For the journal, see Linguistics (journal). ... Wilhelm von Humboldt Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand Freiherr von Humboldt (June 22, 1767 - April 8, 1835), government functionary, foreign diplomat, philosopher, founder of Humboldt Universität in Berlin, friend of Goethe and especially of Schiller, is especially remembered as a German linguist who introduced a knowledge of the Basque... Saussure Ferdinand de Saussure (pronounced ) (November 26, 1857 – February 22, 1913) was a Geneva-born Swiss linguist whose ideas laid the foundation for many of the significant developments in linguistics in the 20th century. ... Nikolay Yakovlevich Marr (1864-1934) was a controversial Soviet scholar whose monogenetic theory of language constituted the officially approved ideology of Soviet linguists until 1950, when Joseph Stalin personally slammed it as anti-scientific. ... Benedetto Croce (February 25, 1866 - November 20, 1952) was an Italian critic, idealist philosopher, and politician. ... Karl Vossler (1872-1949) was a German linguist and scholar, and a leading Romanist. ...


For Voloshinov, language is the medium of ideology, and cannot be separated from ideology. Ideology, however, is not to be understood in the classical Marxist sense as an illusory mental phenomenon which arises as a reflex of a "real" material economic substructure. Language, as a socially constructed sign-system, is what allows consciousness to arise, and is in itself a material reality. Because of this belief that language is the defining human characteristic, Voloshinov held that the study of verbal interaction was key to understanding social psychology. Voloshinov further argued for understanding psychological mechanisms within a framework of ideological function in his book Freudianism: A Marxist critique (Academic Press (1976) ISBN 0-12-723250-8). An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... A social construction, social construct or social concept is an institutionalized entity or artifact in a social system invented or constructed by participants in a particular culture or society that exists because people agree to behave as if it exists, or agree to follow certain conventional rules, or behave as... Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and ones environment. ... The scope of social psychological research. ...


It was a mistake, argued Voloshinov, to attempt to study language abstractly and synchronically (i.e. in an unhistorical manner), as Saussure had done. Words, for Voloshinov, are dynamic social signs, which take different meanings for different social classes in different historical contexts. The meaning of words is not subject to passive understanding, but includes the active participation of both the speaker (or writer) and hearer (or reader). While every word is a sign taken from an inventory of available signs, the manipulation of the word contained in each speech act or individual utterance is regulated by social relations. In Voloshinov's view, the meaning of verbal signs is the arena of continuous class struggle: a ruling class will try to narrow the meaning of social signs, making them "uni-accentual", but the clash of various class-interests in times of social unrest will make clear the "multi-accentuality" of words. Saussure Ferdinand de Saussure (pronounced ) (November 26, 1857 – February 22, 1913) was a Geneva-born Swiss linguist whose ideas laid the foundation for many of the significant developments in linguistics in the 20th century. ... The notion speech act is a technical term in linguistics and the philosophy of language. ... The South African Police Crush Another Demonstration by the Shack dwellers Movement Abahlali baseMjondolo, 28 September, 2007 Class struggle is the active expression of class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. ...


By virtue of his belief that the 'struggle for meaning' coincides with class struggle, Voloshinov's theories are precursors to those of Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci, who shared an interest in linguistics. Voloshinov's work can also be seen to prefigure many of the concerns of poststructuralism. The South African Police Crush Another Demonstration by the Shack dwellers Movement Abahlali baseMjondolo, 28 September, 2007 Class struggle is the active expression of class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. ... Antonio Gramsci (IPA: ) (January 22, 1891 – April 27, 1937) was an Italian writer, politician and political theorist. ... Post-structuralism is a body of work that followed in the wake of structuralism, and sought to understand the Western world as a network of structures, as in structuralism, but in which such structures are ordered primarily by local, shifting differences (as in deconstruction) rather than grand binary oppositions and...


It has been widely conjectured that works bearing Voloshinov's name were actually authored by his colleague Mikhail Bakhtin; some of these works have been added to reprinted editions of Bakhtin's collected works. A close reading of the two authors' writings reveals, however, two distinct styles and theoretical approaches. It would have required remarkable skill in multivocality for a single author to produce them. Mikhail Bakhtin. ...


See also

Mikhail Bakhtin. ... Pavel Medvedev (1892-1938) was a Russian literary scholar. ... // Introduction The distinctive feature of Russian Formalism is the emphasis on the functional role of literary devices and the original conception of the evolution of literary history. ... Saussure Ferdinand de Saussure (pronounced ) (November 26, 1857 – February 22, 1913) was a Geneva-born Swiss linguist whose ideas laid the foundation for many of the significant developments in linguistics in the 20th century. ... Charles Sanders Peirce Charles Sanders Peirce (September 10, 1839 – April 19, 1914) was an American logician, philosopher, scientist, and mathematician. ... Jens Otto Harry Jespersen or Otto Jespersen (July 16, 1860-April 30, 1943) was a Danish linguist who specialized in the grammar of the English language. ... Nikolay Yakovlevich Marr (1864-1934) was a controversial Soviet scholar whose monogenetic theory of language constituted the officially approved ideology of Soviet linguists until 1950, when Joseph Stalin personally slammed it as anti-scientific. ... Lev Vygotsky Lev Semenovich Vygotsky (Лев Семенович Выготский) (November 17 (November 5 Old Style), 1896 – June 11, 1934) was a Soviet developmental psychologist and the founder of the Cultural-historical psychology. ... Georg Lukács (April 13, 1885 – June 4, 1971) was a Hungarian Marxist philosopher and literary critic in the tradition of Western Marxism. ... Antonio Gramsci (IPA: ) (January 22, 1891 – April 27, 1937) was an Italian writer, politician and political theorist. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Mikhail Bakhtin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1196 words)
It was during this period that he married, and contracted osteomyelitis in his leg, an illness which hampered his productivity, and rendered him an invalid.
Famously, some of the works which bear the names of Bakhtin's close friends Valentin Voloshinov and Pavel Medvedev have been attributed to Bakhtin -- particularly The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship and Marxism and Philosophy of Language.
In the twenty years since then, however, most scholars have come to agree that Voloshinov and Medvedev ought to be considered the authors of these works.
Bakhtin Circle [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy] (8222 words)
Voloshinov examines two contemporary accounts of language, what he calls 'abstract objectivism', whose leading exponent is Saussure, and 'individualistic subjectivism', developed from the work of Wilhelm von Humboldt by the romantic idealists Benedetto Croce (1866-1952) and Karl Vossler (1872-1942).
Voloshinov argues that the two trends derive from rationalism and romanticism respectively and share both the strengths and weaknesses of those movements.
Voloshinov firmly establishes the sign-bound nature of consciousness and the shifting nature of the language system, but instead of viewing the subject as fragmented by the reality of difference, he poses each utterance to be a microcosm of social conflict.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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