Intersubjectivity : towards a dialogical analysis


Intersubjectivity refers to the variety of possible relations between perspectives. It is indispensable for understanding human social behaviour. While theoretical work on intersubjectivity is relatively sophisticated, methodical approaches to studying intersubjectivity lag behind. Most methods assume that individuals are the unit of analysis. In order to research intersubjectivity, however, methods are needed that take relationships as the unit of analysis. The first aim of this article is to review existing methods for studying intersubjectivity. Four methodical approaches are reviewed: comparative self-report, observing behaviour, analysing talk and ethnographic engagement. The second aim of the article is to introduce and contribute to the development of a dialogical method of analysis. The dialogical approach enables the study of intersubjectivity at different levels, as both implicit and explicit, and both within and between individuals and groups. The article concludes with suggestions for using the proposed method for researching intersubjectivity both within individuals and between individuals and groups.


Gillespie, A.; Cornish, F. Intersubjectivity: Towards a Dialogical Analysis. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour (2010) 40 (1) 19-46. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5914.2009.00419.x]

Intersubjectivity : towards a dialogical analysis

Published 1 January 2010