Communication in interpersonal relationships

Cushman, Donald P. and Dudley D. Cahn Jr. 1985. Communication in interpersonal relationships. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Almost as interesting as communication itself is the fact that people today are so interested in communication. The "problem of communication" is a major theme of our age. It fills our bookshelves and the advice columns of our newspapers. It spawns endless methods, therapies, and courses in the name of self-improvement, interpersonal adjustment, salesmanship, or whatever. It explains ... and, we hope, solves ... all other problems. If you want to find a mate, save a marriage, get a job, sell a used car, educate the public, prevent a war ... then communicate! (Cushman & Cahn 1985: 5)
This is exactly the feeling one might get from all the books dealing with communication - that it is a solution to most problems and interesting initself. Even with body language it seems that there are very few who are completely unaware or not the least bit interested in it.
Increased access to the means of communication has made each of us aware of our diversity and our interdependence. Television had made most Americans as familiar with some of the attitudes, values and beliefs of Southeast Asians, Arabs, and Irish as they are with the opinions of their friends and co-workers. The mass media have familiarized us with the plight of blacks, Chicanos, and the poor. The telephone allows members of the same family to be scattered throughout the country and yet be able to maintain regular and close interpersonal contact. A conflict between members of the family in one part of the country is quickly transmitted to all other members of the family throughout the country. Because of this rapid expansion in the available means of communication, we have been thrust into a "global village" where we are confronted on a daily basis with individuals who follow different religions, pursue different interests, and view members of the same family independently, but with whom we must cooperate if we are to achieve out national, group, and individual goals. (Cushman & Cahn 1985: 7)
This is the pathos of "technology brings us all together."
...the efficacious use of communication has shifted from a reliance upon symbols which are value-laden in regard to a common value-system to a reliance upon symbols which are neutral in regard to diverse and sometimes competing value-systems. Previously, the effective use of communication was achieved by the use of value-laden symbols that were endowed with consensual meaning and motivational force because they were grounded in a common value system. Diversity and interdependence preclude such an approach. Value-laden symbols would introduce a whole array of prejudices in favor of one value system and give rise to a heightened awareness of diversity, thus generating disagreements and conflict. Now, however, a symbol system is required which is more neutral in regard to the diverse and yet interdependent value systems involved, but which is endowed with consensual meaning and motivational force because participants engaged in a common task have found it productive for maintaining their interdependence, respecting their diversity and coordinating their joint actions. (Cushman & Cahn 1985: 9)
This is the reason why I cannot use anarchism directly in my work. Also, I sense that modern anarchist practice aims to consolidate value systems by "consensus-making", e.g. talking things through until a shared system is established and coordinate action can ensue.
...the view of man as communicator has shifted from a passive responder to situational determinants to a purposive actor who intends and exercises choice when conveying and interpreting messages. Action theory provides a philosophical basis for understanding symbolic behavior. Action theorists write about intention, motive, reason, purpose, and events. Events (movements, motions) are a class of beahviors that involves change. When observing events, one is able to identify three aspects: stimulus, response, and a causal relationship. (Cushman & Cahn 1985: 9)
Sounds like a bunch of bull on the issues of free will and masked behaviorism. I have yet to read anything on the philosophy of action.
The communication processes that most typically occur in social organizations include: (1) processes of leadership and control, such as orders, directives, and reports to superiors; (2) exchanges of information; and (3) formal and informal bargainings, negotiations, and discussions. (Cushman & Cahn 1985: 14)
A piece of trivia.
The typical process of interpersonal communication systems are thsoe involving the development, presentation, and validation of self-conceptions. (Cushman & Cahn 1985: 14)
All of this seems to hang on the notion of self-conception. Very vague.
Finally, statements that, in addition to providing information for identifying and evaluating the self, prescribe an appropriate behavior to be performed in regard to the self-object relationship constitute the behavioral self. "I am a good teacher and therefore must have my papers graded on time," is an example of a behavioral self statement. Behavioral self-object relationships reflect things one had done (travel, hike, camp, fish, golf, play baseball, watch TV, buy record) or intends to do (go home, go to join a new organization, intend to change as a person, hope to ski or swim this weekend, want to buy a new album). (Cushman & Cahn 1985: 22)
This is either complete or just way out of my grasp. My conception of behavioral self has little to nothing to do with statements about behavior. I presume that people do no verbalize their behavior like this, although I could be mistaken. I think I've stumbled upon a self-help book.


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