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Dialogical Self

  1. Hubert J. M. Hermans

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0275

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Hermans, H. J. M. 2010. Dialogical Self. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


In its original formulation, the dialogical self is conceived of as a dynamic multiplicity of I-positions in the landscape of the mind. These I-positions are involved in processes of mutual dialogical relationships that are intensely interwoven with external dialogical relationships. In this conception, the I is always bound to particular positions in time and space but has the possibility to move from one position to the other in accordance with changes in situation and time. The I fluctuates among different and even opposed positions and has the capacity to imaginatively endow each position with a voice, so that dialogical relations between positions can develop. The voices behave like interacting characters in a story, involved in a process of question and answer, agreement and disagreement. They all have a story to tell about their own experiences from their own perspective. As different voices, these characters exchange information about their respective Me's, creating a complex, narratively structured self. In this multiplicity of positions, some positions are more dominant than others, so that the voices of the less dominant positions are subdued (Hermans, 1996; Hermans, Kempen, & Van Loon, 1992).


  • dialogical self;
  • multiplicity;
  • dominance;
  • power;
  • body