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discovering what our thoughts are as we speak. The thinking is not hidden, but is happening out there in the conversation (s.48).

4.4.8. The conscious and the unconscious According to Bakhtin and Voloshinov, summed up in Morson & Emerson (1990), the notions of the conscious and the unconscious hinge on a complex dialogue between multitudes of different voices, a polyphony of voices in our inner dialogues. ”At any present moment of the dialogue there are great masses of forgotten meanings, but these will be recalled again at a given moment in the dialogue’s later course when it will be given new life. For nothing is absolutely dead: every meaning will someday have its homecoming festival” (Bakhtin quoted in Holquist, 1990, p. 39).

There is no such thing as a secret mental life Billig claims (1999), everything can be heard if one only listens well enough. The speakers have no secrets hidden for themselves, but our rhetorical skills make it possible to open up new themes both in social debates and in private talks he explains. We can say more than just a ‘yes’ or express agreement, we can move forward dialogically. Billig asserts that the ability of humans to close down matters discursively makes it possible to change conversations, pushing them away from embarrassing or troubling topics. This does not necessarily mean that speakers deliberately stop themselves from saying something particular. It is simpler than that. A speaker can say only one thing at a time. The said, having been uttered, creates the not said. That which opens up and that which closes occur in a simultaneous process, hence dialogical creativity and avoidance are not opposites but closely linked in practice. Language is both expressive and repressive Billig argues. Any dialogue, both in its content and form, presupposes certain rules of politeness. Both the speaker and the ‘listener’ can in this way suppress, even repress, utterances. The term repression will in this way of thinking mean that the “unspeakable’ turns into the “unmentionable’ and even the “unthinkable”.

4.4.9. Monologue versus dialogue Bakhtin (1984) explains the monologue as an approach by which one person remains an object of the other; no response is anticipated that can change anything. It is in the highest sense a ’denial of the equal rights of consciousnesses vis-à-vis truth (p. 285). Bakhtin discusses the term monologue to understand totalitarian approaches; by denying and closing down the dialogue, one will be the object of the other and monologue will appear. 25

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