Totalitarian visual "monologue": Reading soviet posters with Bakhtin

Ekaterina V. Haskins, James P. Zappen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Contemporary scholarship has noted Mikhail M. Bakhtin's apparent animosity toward rhetoric. Bakhtin's distinction between monologue and dialogue helps to explain his view of rhetoric, which is both hostile and receptive-hostile to monologic rhetoric but receptive to a dialogic rhetoric that is responsive to others. This article reads Bakhtin's account of monologue and dialogue as a reaction to the pervasive totalitarian visual rhetoric of the Soviet state. Drawing on Bakhtin's descriptions of authoritative and internally persuasive discourses and various kinds of double-voiced discourse-parody, satire, and polemic-the article analyzes the workings of Soviet visual rhetoric as both monologic and potentially dialogic and recovers the various forms of otherness displaced by this rhetoric.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-359
Number of pages34
JournalRhetoric Society Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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