The two bodies

Douglas, Mary 1996. Natural Symbols: Explorations in Cosmology. 2nd edition. London; New York: Routledge.

Ch. 5. "The two bodies", pp. 69-87.
The social body constrains the way the physical body is perceived. The physical experience of the body, always modified by the social categories through which it is known, sustanis a particular view of society. There is a continual exchange of meanings between the two kinds of bodily experience so that each reinforces the categories of the other. As a result of this interaction the body itself is a highly restricted medium of expression. The forms it adopts in movement and repose express social pressures in manifold ways. The care that is given to it, in grooming, feeding and therapy, the theories about what it needs in the way of sleep and exercise, about the stages it should go through, the pains it can stand, its span of life, all the cultural categories in which it is perceived, must correlate closely with the categories in which society is seen in so far as these also draw upon the same culturally processed idea of the body. (Douglas 1996: 69)
Thus the dual body consists of the social body and the physical body and the formed restricts the latter.
In any kind of communication whatever, if more than one band is being used, ambiguity would result if there was no smooth co-ordination of meanings. hence we would always expect some concordance between social and bodily expressions of control, first because each symbolic mode enhances meanings in the other, and so the ends of communication are furthered, and second because, as we said earlier, the categories in which each kind of experience is received are reciprocally derived and mutually reinforcing. (Douglas 1996: 72)
It almost sounds like what I call concursivity. That is, here the social and symbolic categories touch upon bodily expressions by way of "concordance". While concouse is "coming together", concord is "agreement".
The scope of the body as a medium of expression is limited by controls exerted from the social system. Just ast the experience of cognitive dissonance is disturbing, so the experience of consonance in layer after layer of experience and context after context is satisfying. I have argued before that there are pressures to create consonance between the perception of social and physiological levels of experience (Douglas, 1966:114-28). Some of my friends still find it unconvincing. I hope to bring them round by going much further, following Mauss in maintaining that the human body is always treated as an image of society and that there can be no natural way of considering the body that does not involve at the same time a social dimension. (Douglas 1996: 74)
Ah, my dear Douglas, even you are taken by Leon Festinger!
Consequently I now advance the hypothesis that bodily control is an expression of social control - abandonment of bodily control in ritual responds to the requirements of a social experience which is being expressed. Furthermore, there is little prospect of successfully imposing bodily control without the corresponding social forms. And lastly, the same drive that seeks harmoniously to relate the experience of physical and social, must affect ideology. (Douglas 1996: 74)
This is actually very useful for my purposes (concerning bodily self-censorship).
It seems not too bold to suggest that where role structure is strongly defined, formal behaviour will be valued. If we were to proceed to analyse a range of symbolism under the general opposition of formal/informal we would expect the formal side of every contrasted pair to be valued where role structure is more dense and more clearly articulated. Formality signifies social distance, well-defined, public, insulated roles. Informality is appropriate to role confusion, familiarity, intimacy. Bodily control will be appropriate where formality is valued, and most appropriate where the valuing of culture above nature is most emphasized. All this is very obvious. (Douglas 1996: 75)
Not bold at all. Also, very obvious indeed.
So far we have given two rules: one, the style appropriate to a message will co-ordinate all the channels; two, the scope of the body acting as a medium is restricted by the demands of the social system to be expressed. SAs this last implies, a third is that strong social control demands strong bodily control. A fourth is that along the dimension from weak to strong pressure the social system seeks progressively to disembody or etherealize the forms of expression; this can be called the purity rule. (Douglas 1996: 76)
These simple equations could be very useful.
Social intercourse requires that unintended or irrelevant organic processes should be screened out. It equips itself therefore with criteria of relevance and these constitute the universal purity rule. The more complex the system of classification and the stronger the pressure to maintain it, the more social intercourse pretends to take place between disembodied spirits. Socialization teaches the child to bring organic processes under control. (Douglas 1996: 76)
Relevant for concursivity: some writers choose to screen out all bodily behavior ("organic processes") to make it look as if the dialogue is taking place between disembodied spirits.
The physical body is a microcosm of society, facing the centre of power, contracting and expanding its claims in direct accordance with the increase and relaxation of social pressure. Its members, now riveted into attention, now abandoned to their private devices, represent the members of society and their obligations to the whole. At the same time, the physical body, by the purity rule, is polarized conceptually against the social body. Its requirements are not only subordinated, they are contrasted with social requirements. The distance between the two bodies is the two bodies is the range of pressure and classification in the society. (Douglas 1996: 77)
I think there is something missing. I'd propose a third body, a "personal" body that is free from social pressure. This is the body one possesses when no one is around and looking.
Natural symbols can express the relation of an individual to his society at that general systemic level. The two bodies are the self and society: sometimes they are so near as to be almost merged; sometimes they are far apart. The tension between them allows the elaboration of meanings. (Douglas 1996: 87)
Alas, for Douglas, the physical body is the self.

Millard, Thomas L. 1962. Human Relations in a Changing Society, Trends and Principles. Journal of Educational Sociology 35(5): 228-235.

Within the basic value-orientation of a free, open society, Human Relations as a professional discipline seeks to enable individuals, groups, and communities in achieving the highest possible degree of social, mental and physical well being. (Millard 1962: 228)
I am instantly reminded of Jurgen Ruesch's Semiotic Approaches to Human Relations.
As Human Relations is attuned to the multiplicity, of causative factors in intergroup conflicts, it deploys its professional skills in the development of constructive, insightful information and with assistance in helping groups in conflict to rethink basic value concepts, thus heightening their adaptability to changing institutional and human needs.
Towards this end, the human relationist needs to assess in workable terms, the socio-cultural environment from which such conflicts or group members come. What is the nature of the problem, what does the conflict symbolize for them and how does it clash with their value orientation? (Millard 1962: 228)
Sounds like some goody-two-shoes ish, but the interesting part is how liberal this guy is with -ism.
The effectiveness of meaningful human relations depends upon the rigidity of the value system of the group involved and the degree of internalization of basic democratic values.
However the capacity of man to espouse social justice in the content of his social experience is probably the most fundamental and unique character of man. But society cannot control every possible social situation, and then too, groups with opposing value-orientation can always create social situations that give vent to their beliefs.
This process through which basic value disagreement leads to physical dissociation is the prerequisite to social conflict and this is perhaps the most important area for study by the human relationist. (Millard 1962: 229)
It is likely that my value-orientation is divergent from this authors' as I don't believe human relations can be reduced to values. Especially when values are used as a means for social control, as the case seems to be here. The remarkable thing is that "physical dissociation" quite possibly designates #avoidance.
And where social conflict is charged with human emotions, the more it tends to become detached from reality and take on the characteristics of a free-floating symbol. And free-floating symbols have become useful devices for individuals and groups who elect to move in opposite direction of social change. By such ego-investment in time, and energy, some of these groups find it increasingly difficult, if not impossible to reverse their flight from reality turning their fears, hostility and perhaps their collective sense of guilt into a kind of "legalistic" logic which makes it possible for them to exist. (Millard 1962: 229)
Hot damn! Did I just find a proto-theory of empty signifier? P.S. The typeface/font this text is in is incredible. I must write some of my own texts with it. Aww snap, its "Monotype Century Old Style" and a form of "Century" font is pre-installed with Ubuntu. Guess who just set it as default font on gedit? moi.
Indeed, a central requirement of human relations for the future must be how to work with those with whom we differ to make a goodness of life for all - for we cannot allow our differences of value application to divide us to the point where we are incapable of social action for the common good. The dynamic aspects of culture demonstrates that striving for achievement, although accompanied by temporary discomfort, frustration and even pain - is essential to full growth and development of social groups. (Millard 1962: 230)
Apparently this author is clipping together various expressions without any further thought. E.g. dynamic aspects (plural) demonstrates (singular). Also, I'm beginning to notice that this text is a bit ideological and lacks any citations. And man is not distinguished from "lower" animals by its social nature - many species are social. And "human relationism" could just as well be replaced with "sociology" - the essence seems to be same. The sub-title "defective human relations needs authoritative priming" is really off-putting. Enough of this, Millard.

Gottdiener, M. 1985. Hegemony and Mass Culture: A Semiotic Approach. American Journal of Sociology 90(5): 979-1001.

Hegemony theory is reductionist because of its primitive understanding of human subjectivity. By asserting that class consciousness is controlled in the interests of the bourgeoisie through the mediation of mass culture, hegemonists assume the unity of all thought and beg the more essential theoretical question concerning the constitutive nature of the human subject. Consciousness itself can never be controlled in the manner suggested by this theory because it implies the existence of a homogeneous human subject who has been produced by modernity and whose mental state has a reflexive thought capacity that is indistinguishable from either consciousness or even subconsciousness. (Gottdiener 1985: 982)
This reminds me of the assumption of "transcendental subjectivity" in cultural semiotics (the culture as a whole, "culture as the consciousness of society").
In Althusser's original formulation he strove for a more complex view of the human subject as a somewhat contradictory amalgam of mental states that include post-Freudian-like subconscious influences. Althusser makes the distinction between consciousness and a second feature of thought that is a mental capacity organized around the "imagery," a capacity that is qualitatively separate from the ordinary consciousness of everyday life. The concept of the imagery is close to Berger and Luckmann's (1966) notion of reality construction, because it represents the individual's interpretation of reality, constructed through reflexive thought contemplating the experience of social interaction. According to Althusser's original formulation, people cannot understand the real forces in the social formation that produce social events, because these function in ways not readily apparent. Their interpretation of the events perceived by consciousness, therefore, is an imaginary one, and it is the representation of this realm that Althusser terms "ideological." (Gottdiener 1985: 983)
This may perhaps even prove useful for concursive approach. Since we derive some or even most of our interpretations of bodily behavior from culture (e.g. the folklore of gestures, literary descriptions, everyday speech), all attempts to interpret bodily behavior is always already invested with not-so-readily-apparent ideological aspects.
The essential difference betwene the semiotic approach to culture and those better known in the United States (such as ethnomethodology and symbolic interactionism, which also focus on symbols and social interaction) is the emphasis in semiotics on objective systems of signification and the intersubjective basis of meaning. That is, following Saussure, the production of meaning takes place only by virtue of a social relation, because language is a sui generis social construction. (Gottdiener 1985: 985)
If semiotics is concerned with "the socially sustained system of signification" (ibid) then what the hell are ethnomethodology and symbolic interactionism concerned with?
First, symbolic interactionism does not possess a theory of the cultural object. In this sense it is an idealist inquiry that lacks a material basis for the grounding of individual behavior and social relations. In addition, because its main focus is on "interaction" rather than the "symbolic," it virtually ignores the role of language and meaning systems in the analysis of culture (Davis 1981). Second, intrasubjective theories of social interaction such as ethnomethodology fail to address the producer/object or producer/user relation, although studies of creator/object do exist within this tradition. Such a limitation might be expected of a microsociology. In this way, however, ethnomethodology assumes that micro distinctions can be explored separately and autonomously from the larger social context, even at the formal level of abstraction. Accordingly, current theories of symbolic exchange are inadequate for an analysis of mass culture in the global sense outlined above. (Gottdiener 1985: 985)
I don't agree at all with these arguments. Gottdiener does not cite any examples but makes generalized statements. Does not G. H. Mead explain extensively the nature of the symbolic? Why should ethnomethodology dwell on material production of objects? I think Gottdiener is looking for theories of mass culture in all the wrong places.
According to Barthes (1964), every object becomes a sign of its own function. Thus an automobile functions not only as a mode of trnasportation but also as a commonly (almost universally) recognized sign of that function. (Gottdiener 1985: 986)
Thus a rifle functions as a means if injury and becomes a sign of killing.
According to Krampen, the logical extension of Barthes's early work would be an assertion that all of culture is accessible through linguistic analysis, and this statement is a fallacy. The "linguistic fallacy" implies that "since all languages are made up of words and all words are signs, all things made up of signs are language" (1979, p. 34). This "translinguistic" (Eco 1976) approach to culture has unfortunately come to characterize "pop-semiotic" analysis, just as fashion, non-verbal gestures, architecture, and so on have all been endowed analogically with the fallacious status of language. (Gottdiener 1985: 986)
Amen. This goes for body language, the language of flowers and handbags etc. Concursive approach must meticulously avoid falling prey to this fallacy.
For Barthes (and Julia Kristeva and Jacques Derrida, among others) semiotics after 1969 became the study of the text or discourse, most especially in written form (such an inquiry is sometimes known as "second generation" or "philological" semiotics). For example, although Barthes showed that the objects of Dress constituted a system of signification and that Dress was therefore amenable to semiotic analysis, he observed that the dress sign existed only in Fashion, that is, in the discursive world of writing and speaking about clothes rather than as something intrinsic to the object itself or to its function. (Gottdiener 1985: 987)
The case is similar with "the discursive world of writing and speaking about bodily behavior" e.g. concourse.
Recognition of these two aspects of mass culoture - its inherently polysemous nature and its audience of relatively heterogeneous subculture - also leads to the establishment of two long-recognized principles in the semiotic analysis of culture. First, I acknowledge the multicoded nature of social life and the multiplicity of sign systems that coexist in any given society (Lotman and Uspensky 1978). The concept of polysemy as characteristic of cultural perception has been an established tenet of semiotic analysis since Barthes's pioneering work (1964). Second, by grounding analysis of the threefold mass cultural relation in the group life of individuals, I recognize the primacy of meanings in all other typifications of social behavior. This means that, before there is "mass" culture, there must be "culture," that is, the conceptual forms of accumulated knowledge by which social groups organize everyday experience within social and material contexts (Clark et al. 1975; Lotman and Uspensky 1978; Sahlins 1976). Sahlins, in particular, has insisted productively that human behavior is always meaningful and that, consequently, social life is organized first and fremost around systemic, symbolic modes of interpretation (1976). Thus, group life possesses its own "relative autonomy" from economic and political processes. The impact of mass culture must always be understood within the social context of this ongoing, localized process of meaning creation and group interpretation. (Gottdiener 1985: 990-991)
Sahlin: Culture and Practical Reason. Lotman and Uspensky: "On the Semiotic Mechanism of Culture" (New Literary History).
According to Eco, any object (e.g., an automobile) can be considered in any of five separate ways: (a) physically, as a material object; (b) mechanically, as an instrument or tool that performs a function, that is, possesses use value; (c) economically, as possessing exchange value; (d) socially, as a sign of some status; and (e) semantically, as a cultural unit that can enter into relationships with other cultural units in a discourse about automobiles and transportation (1976, p. 27). (Gottdiener 1985: 991)
From A Theory of Semiotics. Compare these to Lotman's five cultural relationships.
In effect, i reject the radical reductionism of Baudrillard, which views all objects in society as possessing sign values. In my approach there can never be a pure semiotic analysis of culture at the level of the text itself, because all cultural objects are produced by nonsemiotic processes of economics and politics and are used nonsemiotically to perform first-order functions and to provide the second-order status of sign value. For example, the wearing of a raincoat for protection from rain, and for no other purpose, may "mean" that the use of that raincoat is an indicator of climate. In this case, mass culture interposes itself only when the raincoat, through fashion, is worn for second-order effects as well (see Delaporte 1979).
This distinction has important implications for criticism of mass culture. It can be used to argue against the standard way in which ideological hegemonists perform textual analysis by endowing cultural objects with meanings that derive solely from the critics' own analytical sensibilities. (Gottdiener 1985: 993)
Gottdiener is in my opinion here grappling with the age-old question of intrinsic coding.


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