Hypertext And/As Collaboration

         Hypertext as heteroglossia, then, is the collaborative mode which I seek to facilitate in my writing classes because it avoids a totalizing movement toward consensus, instead validating the diversity of values and voices that are produced by the variety of individuals. Additionally, the celebration of diversity possible in a heteroglossic hypertext is not a destructive process with regard to the building of community in the class; on the contrary, it establishes a community built of and accepting of the multiple voices which constitute it.

         Linda Flower (1994) sees Bakhtin's notion of heteroglossia as giving "a vivid image of how a cognitive network--the construct of an individual mind--is at the same time an intensely social representation and how the construction of meaning for a text can be an ongoing negotiation with the 'presence' of other voices" (p. 98). Hypertext makes this cognitive "network" a form of real communication by making it accessible to others, externalizing the associative paths of links and nodes as computer-mediated links and lexia. Because constructive hypertexts can be annotated and expanded, each lexia is in fact part of a heteroglossic network, and through the act of linking , each lexia is "interanimated," or juxtaposed with every other lexia. We no longer need to imagine "how knowledge might function as a voiced , intentional speech act (what Bakhtin refers to . . . as the Word)" (Flower, 1994, p. 99)--we can enact it as such.

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