October 26, 2012

Heteroglossia, a new definition?

In Daniel’s hypertext essay about the corporate prison system I think the heteroglossia comes from the different interviews in the piece. There is an extreme difference in the way men and women understand what is going on at any given moment and I’m sure that takes on a special look in the prison system. When interviewing, the language between men and women is different in their descriptions of what happened or is happening. However, some of these interviews show the difference between one specific incident and a habitual issue.

I think also the different ways she expresses her concern over the women’s prison system, i.e. text, pictures, audio clips, adds to the idea of heteroglossia. Until recently, I had assumed heteroglossia to mean different voices of the same narrator, author or producer of the work within text. But I do think there is something to be said that heterglossia could mean different forms of information or text within a piece to give it many different voices that the producer of the work wanted the audience to hear.

In this case, reading the text, seeing the pictures and listening to the voices forces the audience to understand what the piece is about in many different mediums, all related to the same work. Could that be considered a use or definition of heteroglossia or will it be defined strictly to its use in narrator’s voice? The definition our quiz used was, “This term was originally used by a Russian formalist and poststructural critic to describe the plurality of voices in a literary work, although its usage has since expanded to the rhetorical analysis of other discussions. While it is not the same things as ‘multivocality,’ it does share some common features in that its presence in a text (or in a discourse) necessarily relies on the fact that new viewpoints are formed in language due to the tension between dominant and less dominant voices.”

Using that definition, I raise the question again; can heteroglossia include different mediums within the same work? This piece has most of those requirements the definition offers, having dominant and less dominant voices and it relies on new viewpoints to be heard and understood. I’m not sure of an answer to this but I think my personal opinion is yes, there is something to be said for heteroglossia being one work with different mediums within it and I think that Daniel’s work is a good example of that. 


Katie Latchford said...

I think you propose some interesting questions-- is this a new definition of heteroglossia? It does seem a bit similar to multivocality with the multitude of voices within a text. I like that you mention the different viewpoints that arise within the text to create tension, because it is the voices of the different people featured as well as Daniel who bring these to the forefront, and the different voices that make their arguments. I think Daniel uses heteroglossia in a way that she portrays her voice through other people, making it a multi-personal view on a subject. There are clearly differences in peoples' speech and discourse within the same text, which adds depth and personality to an argument against the public prison systems. I think it absolutely could include different media in the same work, like shown here, and I think that is amplified by the dominance of certain voices, like you pointed out.

Victoria said...

In response to the question in your last paragraph, I think yes. Visuals have there own language, separate from how text or spoken word operate. Since both mediums are working towards one goal (Daniel's point about the problems within the prison system), they are operating within one language. They also function as different voices under one narrative, because what the audience gets from one, reinforces the other, as well as offering up a different way of receiving the information.

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