the space for individual creativity in Bakhtin
I was really interested in the tension which I seemed to find in Bakhtin between a place for individual creative expression and the fact that all expressions are socially determined. He seemed to be saying that certain speech genres allow for more individual expression than others (which would imply at all utterances have this component to a greater or lesser degree). At the same time, he discounts ideas from figures such as Tolstoy, who want to put creative individual thought to the fore, saying that such individual expression is also determined by social milieu and audience. Taking his ideas to their conclusion could lead to a social determinism, it seems to me. Every utterance is dependent on every other and on the limitations of its particular speech genre.
His theory of language as socially constructed has implications for many fields. In studies of Language Acquisition, it would pit him against the innatist school and Chomsky. "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" is a sentence which uses the tools of language creatively, but as an utterance it is non-existent, except in the social context of trying to prove Chomsky's theory. In Literary Criticism, a figure like William Blake would be seen as a product of his time (the utterances that came before him) rather than a genius ahead of his time, who has only recently gained his real audience. In Composition Studies, language as socially constructed clearly puts Bakhtin in the camp of Friere, Giroux and other critical pedagogues who claim that written expression always exists within a social (political) context and for a particular audience, rather than with Elbow and the expressivists who would claim that writing is for self-expression and therefore fall in with Tolstoy.
I am just curious as to whether Bakhtin would see himself with the folks in the paragraph above, or if he is simply emphasizing the social aspect of language to the extent that he does in order to correct a previous imbalance. Does he believe that individual creativity is a romantic myth, or does he simply wish to downplay its influence on rhetoric?