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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Structure of Power, 14 Jan. 2010
Mr. Robert Barlow "eatmywords" (Kingston upon Hull) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bakhtin Reader: Selected Writings of Bakhtin, Medvedev, Voloshinov (Hodder Arnold Publication) (Paperback)
In Bakhtin theory there are two structural processes operating within any literary genre. On one level there is an individual subjectivism that locates and analyses the creative stylistics of the author. On another level an abstract objectivism exists within all language seeking to maintain some degree of consistency through each genre.

With language being composed of grammatical, semantic and syntactic codes an author must conform to those codes for a general acceptance of their work. The author therefore becomes restricted to stylistically and aesthetically working with the rules of language. They find themselves in a far more difficult position to manipulate our conscious understanding of language: "Language stands before the individual as in inviolable, incontestable form" (27). We might consider language today is under attack from mobile and global devices, but in reality it actually confirms the formalist world view. The objective structure of language remains relatively unchanged with only the aesthetic style of language changing.

What The Bakhtin Reader should prove is that language is less about a method of information and understanding, but rather a system of control and manipulation: "It enters our verbal consciousness as a compact and indivisible mass; one must either totally affirm it, or totally reject it. It is indissolubly fused with its authority - with political power, an institution, a person - and it stands and falls together with that authority" (79).
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