Voice: A Pathway to Consciousness as “Social Contact to Oneself”

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Starting from a dialogical view of human communicative and cognitive processes, the notion and the phenomenon of voice by different authors is explored. Assuming its concreteness as perceivable event, a description of the phenomenon is then given in five key concepts: indexicality, intonation, body, imitation, and internalization. With regard to the transformation of the phenomenon to an interior experience, as suggested by the notion of voice as psychological position and by the term of inner voice, the concept of internalization is paid special attention to. The experienced voice of a significant other is understood as mechanism of internalization, allowing for the movement from other to self: a meaningful and embodied social form tied to another person. The course of reflection finally leads to considering consciousness in the perspective of voice. The voice of a communicating person is thought to be a powerful means for the emergence of an interior experience of self and other. And this experience is, in turn, linked to consciousness in its complex states.

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