Semantic Axiom Number One

Joos, Martin 1972. Semantic Axiom Number One. Language 48(2): 257-265.

In this social game the narrator must play fair with his audience. Wolfram was a totally eye-minded man. his way of playing fair was to specify just what was in plain sight on the narrated scene. (Joos 1972: 261)
This is one concursive technique. And "eye-minded" is a neat word combination, much simpler than "visually oriented". It seems that "specifying just what was in plain sight" is wide scope concursivity.
Wolfram is exploiting his unique competence, 'his actute observation of details of the life and world that nobody escapes from and yet nobody is aware of' (Joos & Whitesell, 72)... (Joos 1972: 262)
This sounds so much like the famous quote by E. Sapir. Presuming, that is, that "details of life" are gestures.

Derrida, Jacques 1979. Scribble (Writing-Power). Yale French Studies 58: 117-147.

Fostering the belief that writing befalls power (one can, in general, and one can write if occasioned to), that it can ally itself to power, can prolong it by complementing it, or can serve it, the question suggested that writing can come [arriver] to power or power to writing. It excludes in advance the identification of writing as power or the recognition of power from the onset of writing. It auziliarizes and hence aims to conceal the fact that writing and power never work separately, however complex the laws, the system, or the links of their collusion may be. (Derrida 1979: 117)
In this sense bodily behavior and writing are similar in respect to power.
Writing does not come to power. It is there beforehand, it partakes of it and is made of it. (Derrida 1979: 117)
Yup, power is always clothed in nonverbal means, even in preliterate societies.
The sound of the voice never carries far enough. It lacks extension. extension fails it. The scarcely paradoxical consequence: although it belongs to duration, sound never lasts long enough - duration fails it too. (Derrida 1979: 119)
In this sense Derrida's polemic between speech and writing could be compared to the difference between bodily behavior and photo/video representations of it.
The deficiency of the word [verbe] is not due solely to the element of sound in which it is deployed. It also appears on the semantic or referential side. In the beginning language is said to have been, necessarily, "rude, barren, and equivocal." (Derrida 1979: 119)
Here I come to realize that nonverbal means "wordless", a more exact term would be nonlinguistic. These are indeed used in different languages: sõnastu suhtlemine and Неязыковые системы коммуникации.
This "action" is obviously an "action language" (§9) already informed by an entire rhetoric, by a thorough, active, and discriminating sifting [criblage] of figures. Examples of this are first drawn from the Orient of Holy Scripture, either from the language of the Prophets ("When the false Prophet shakes his iron horns to mark the utter rout of the Syrians," etc.) or from their "visions," which are in fact only translations, equivalents of action "turned into vision," the effects of a practical rhetoric: the vision is thus the language God speaks by "condescension," "to conform to the custom of the time." (Derrida 1979: 120)
define:condescension - "the trait of displaying arrogance by patronizing those considered inferior." Consenscensio reminds me of the study of gestures being called "pop semiotics" by someone.
But insofar as this rhetorical "action" is original, insofar as it supplies the deficiencies of a natural and primary impotence of speech, nothing - neither upstream nor downstream - can overflow its realm. The entire realm is a realm of action. There follows a sort of generalized "practicism" that offers its foundation, its place, and its meaning to a theory of writing as power. The concept of action ensures the (homogeneous or analogical) passage between action in general (physical, technical, political, etc.) and that of "action language": manifestation through action, act of manifesting. (Derrida 1979: 120)
Derrida distinguishes what others would call behavior and communicative action. The first is action as such (doing anything), the other has a definite purpose to achieve something, to manifest something.
Priests are not inventors of religion. They accumulate a sort of natural religiosity, commandeer it, divert it for their benefit, for the benefit of the caste and the hegemony it represents. (Derrida 1979: 146)

Ebert, Teresa L. 1986. The Crisis of Representation in Cultural Studies: Reading Postmodern Texts Critical Angles: European Views of Contemporary American Literature by Marc Chenetier. American Quarterly 38(5): 894-902.

By theories I am not referring to the empiricist notion of generalized, verifiable models of the real but rather a conception of theories as those ways of knowing, organizing, and making sense of experience that underlie all practices in culture and make the "real" intelligible. (Ebert 1986: 895)
I use the word "theory" in an equally liberal manner.
Briefly, then, representional ways of making sense - which have been historically dominant in the West since the seventeenth century, as Foucault has shown in The Order of Things, and pervade not only common sense but the majority of cultural practices, including traditionalist cultural studies - are based on the belief that the meaning of signs, such as words and images, lies not in the signs themselves but in the objects, ideas, and actions to which they refer, which they represent (e.g., E. D. Hirsch, Validity in Interpretation). Opposing this view, anti-representational theories, or what in more positive terms I call significatory theories, have begun (especially in the last few decades) to challenge the naturalization of representation as the "way things are" and to argue that signs do not refer to external entities but only to other signs. "Reality" in these theories is not what exists outside signifying systems, but that which is constituted through them. In other words, language and other signifying systems are viewed as the material social practices that determine the "real," thereby erasing the distinction between signs (representations) and reality: everything is signification and signification is all we know about realiyt (e.g., Derrida, Of Grammatology, J. Lacan, Ecrits, and R. Barthes, S/Z). The third group, post-representational theories, are those ways of meaning-making which no longer accept the relation between representations and their referent in the world outside language as natural and unmediated by sign systems and at the same time do not completely abandon the necessity of "reference" and of "real" entities capable of limiting the dispersion and self-referentiality of signifying systems. Post-representational theories, however, are not so much the syntheiss of the opposing representational and significatory but are instead the sites in which the contrary ways of reading reality face each other (e.g., F. Jameson, The Political Unconscious, and G. Hartman, Saving the Text). (Ebert 1986: 895)
Actually making good sense.

Silva-Fuenzalida, Ismael 1949. Ethnolinguistics and the Study of Culture. American Anthropologist 51(3): 446-456.

Many definitions of language have been given: "language is the bearer of culture," "language is the vehicle of culture," and the like, but all of them point out its social significance. Further analysis is required, however, to grasp the total gamut of relations between language and culture. When we hear the statement that "language is a part of culture," it is in fact meant that utterances are correctly understood only if they are symbols of cultural phenomena. This implies that since experience is communicated by means of language, a person speaking any language participates to some degree in the ways of life represented by that language. These verbal symbols are not loosely joined, but co-ordinated by means of a system that expresses their mutual relations. Language is thus the regular organization of series of symbols, whose meanings have to be learned as any other phenomenon. (Silva-Fuenzalida 1949: 446)
These questions are equally pertinent in the nonverbal sphere, e.g. cultural relativity in kinesics. Birdwhistell's infracommunication instantly comes to mind. Namely, the relationship of verbal (utterance) and nonverbal (experience) is mediated by culture.
The distinction between "language" and "speech" is basic for understanding function and symbolism in language. The conception of structure, proposed by the linguists of Prague as a psychological phenomenon, has laid the ground for applying the underlying phenomenon of the unconscious patterning of linguistic terms to nonlinguistic cultural forms. These psychological linguistic concepts, which are derived from the overt forms of linguistic behavior, were taken over by Sapir, who saw their far-reaching significance for the study of culture. He demonstrated that the analysis of any kind of individual or social behavior - whether linguistic or nonlinguistic - reveals that men react in accordance with deep-rooted patterns which the individual cannot grasp, because the relations between the elements of experience are "felt" or "intuited" rather than consciously perceived. (Silva-Fuenzalida 1949: 447)
Of course Birdwhistell was a cultural anthropologist (or at least had this bent) and interested in "unconscious patterns".
Here [in Chile], the nonverbal behavior dictated by earlier custom slowly changed with the introduction of deviations whereby among some groups, men shook hands more often, while among others the bow was replaced by a mere inclination of the head. The traditional besamanos (kissing women's hands) was less frequently seen, while women, on their part, began to look men in the eye and even shake hands with them. The deviations that accumulated were those in harmony with the general structure of the culture, in this case the speeding up of the rhythm of life brought about by an even increasing mechanization. (Silva-Fuenzalida 1949: 448-449)
Some examples of cultural "drift" (E. Sapir's notion) in the nonverbal sphere, written off as co-developing with the general technological advancement of society.

Bartsch, Anne and Susanne Hübner 2005. Towards a Theory of Emotional Communication. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 7(4), article 2.

Over the past two decades, emotions have become a rapidly growing field of research and theorizing in disciplines as different as cognitive, social, and developmental psychology, anthropology, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and others. (Bartsch & Hübner 2005)
This is exactly why I mostly avoid theories of emotion from the past decades - the term has lost its zing.
One of the central themes that emerged from the joint efforts of emotion research is that emotions are not just private inner experiences, but inherently social and communicative phenomena. (Bartsch & Hübner 2005)
Now this sounds more familiar, as "the social construction of emotions" was propounded already by the end of the 1970s.
...emotional brain systems control a variety of emotional responses such as hormone release, activation of the autonomic nervous system, vocal, facial, and motor expression, allocation of cognitive resources to the situation that elicits emotion, etc. Taken together, these functional properties of emotional brain systems lead to the following conclusion: If the same brain systems that give rise to emotions are also involved in the expression of emotions and in the processing of expressions of others, emotion expression will then lead to an activation of similar brain systems in communication partners. (Bartsch & Hübner 2005)
Firstly a list of elements influences by emotions and secondly a hint towards "emotional contagion".
The prototype approach assumes that knowledge about emotions is represented in the form of nonverbal emotion scripts. Emotional scripts include knowledge about typical eliciting situations, typical reactions, and self-control procedures. These emotion prototypes have two closely related functions: They structure the personal experience of emotions and they are used to understand the emotions of others. (Bartsch & Hübner 2005)
I find extremely interesting that there is a notion called "self-control procedure" - something which I'm working on myself from a semiotic point of view. It seems that I'm trying to invent a wheel, but perhaps it's better if I do, because otherwise I won't have a historical account of these notions and would have to take them at face value.
Social constructivists, however, believe that emotional knowledge is represented in a purely symbolic manner. According to this view, the meaning of emotion words is constituted by a set of rules that specify the kinds of persons, situations, and actions to which the emotion word applies. The rules that govern the use of emotion words and other symbolic expressions are thought to be equivalent to the social norms concerning emotions. (Bartsch & Hübner 2005)
The authors seem to hold a very simplistic view of social constructionism, conflating it with role-theory and something about morality. Also, the distancing "[they] believe that..." hints at the authors not taking this viewpoint very seriously. That may be why they ascribe such an absolute statement ("purely symbolic manner") to "those darn social constructionists."
Appraisal theories consider the emotion eliciting process as a form of cognition, whereas neuroscience models claim that emotion and cognition are distinct forms of information processing. The prototype approach assumes that knowledge about emotions is represented in the form of nonverbal prototypes, whereas social constructivist theories claim that emotion concepts are symbolic representations. (Bartsch & Hübner 2005)
I think I'm right to avoid too recent texts on these topics, because they sum things up almost too hygienically, as if theories are neat little packages without rampant contradictions and room for creative dabbling. Perhaps I'm simply annoyed by the fact that I'm interested in these theories but specific authors aren't named.
Taken together, the argumentation considered here leads to a model of emotional communication that comprises three interrelated levels of complexity. Level one consists of the reciprocal activation of emotional brain systems, level two consists of the reciprocal activation of emotional scripts, and level three consists of the symbolic negotiation of emotions. (Bartsch & Hübner 2005)
This is what the authors mean by "reconciliating" the theories - simply mashing them together into "levels".
...there is a series of approaches that describe nonverbal behavior and its function in communication process such as Proxemics, Kinesics, Paralanguage, or Vocalics, and similar theories such as Interpersonal Deception Theory (Buller and Burgoon), Expectancy Violation Theory (Burgoon), Marital Communication Theory (Fitzpatrick), pragmatic communication theories in the tradition of Paul Watzlawick, etc. Generally speaking, these theories can be subsumed under the term of nonverbal interaction theories. To summarize the common theoretical statements, all of these theories are based on the assumption that an adequate understanding of message transfer in social contexts requires a consideration of nonverbal cues as an information channel to convey knowledge about each other. Nonverbal interaction theories can be applied to the second level of our model, which is the level of nonverbal emotion scripts. On the basis of emotional knowledge which is organized in script-like structures with a beginning and an end, communication partners develop expectations about the course of interaction. Moreover, the chronological structure of scripts enables the participants to shape intentions to regulate this interaction. It is important to note that criteria such as reciprocal expectations and intentions, which play a central role in nonverbal interaction theories, do not necessarily mean self-conscious expectations and intentions. Rather, expectations and intentions are based on implicit characteristics of interaction such as the temporal unfolding of interaction scripts. (Bartsch & Hübner 2005)
Okay, the "script-like structures" are interesting, but otherwise I still disagree on the style. Or rather, there's a disagreement in understanding the historical placement of approaches and theories. E.g. proxemics and kinesics are neat things to mention but to my knowledge no one has taken up what Hall and Birdwhistell did and developed it further. The so-called "approaches" have been stagnating since their conceptions and still they are enlisted as if viable options for research. To me this feels like going to the mall and seeing body-parts of my old friends' corpses on sale.
Finally, let us turn to the neurological level. Only a few approaches try to explain the biological foundations of human communication. Among these theories are: The Autopoietic Systems Theory of Humberto R. Maturana and Francisco J. Varela, the Communibiology Approach of Michal J. Beatty and James C. McCroskey, and the Theory of Spontaneous Communication of Ross Buck. (Bartsch & Hübner 2005)
At least this is new for me.
To conclude, there is no single communication theory that covers the entire bandwidth of emotional communication processes specified by the four working definitions. The widespread concept of communication as a symbolic message transfer can be applied only to level three. The description of emotional communication at the more basic levels requires a concept of communication which includes innate co-orientation processes and reciprocal formation of expectations based on emotional scripts. That means that the phenomenon of emotional communication is quite heterogeneous with regard to definitional issues in general communication theory. Hence it cannot be treated within a single theory of communication. (Bartsch & Hübner 2005)
I disagree. Not with the exact statement, though, as it seems correct that "symbolic message transfer" can only apply to the third level, but only because the authors seem to be holding on to a very narrow conception of symolic activities, as if transfer is the only thing symbolc are capable. I think a "pansemiotic" approach could tackle all these levels and wouldn't even call them levels, but part of a complex of interrelated phenomena ("levels" imply a hierarchy - I don't think there is one).


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