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Abduction and identity in family interaction: ventriloquizing as indirectness

With a view toward developing a more inclusive understanding of indirectness in interaction, author returns to Bateson's notion of abduction (a mental process by which meaning is created by analogy) and three related theoretical frameworks: Friedrich's polytropy, Becker's prior text, and Bakhtin's dialogicality – all theories of intertextuality. In order to show how these concepts help us understand the workings of indirectness in interaction author considers examples of family interaction in which one family member speaks in the voice of another, a phenomenon she calls ventriloquizing. Ventriloquizing creates meaning by abduction, as speakers borrow others' identities and thereby temporarily assign to themselves characteristics associated with those whose voices they borrow. Abduction can therefore be understood as a type of indirectness – one that is pervasive in interaction.

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