Personal Acts

Stone, Gregory P. 1977. Personal Acts. Symbolic Interaction 1(1): 2-19.

Herbert Blumer has conveyed to me in conversation his dissatisfaction with the phrase, "symbolic interactionism," and Anselm Strauus put it well: "The interactional situation is not an interaction between two actors, but a series of transactions carried on in thickly peopled and complexely imaged contexts" (Strauss, 1959: pp. 56-57). Indeed, our perspective might better be called "symbolic transaction." In this sense, meaningful conduct is always on-going, but there are dimensions to what goes on. Cooley somewhere drew the analogy between the social life and a river. One never steps in the same water twice, but the wader should heed the depth of the river. (Stone 1977: 2; footnote 2)
These are neat remarks. The river metaphor is an ancient (asian?) one, but the comparison with social life (especially in modern cities) is apt. Strauss's name is familiar but not that of his work (Mirrors and Masks). Today I daydreamed about naming the chapter titles of my non-existent monograph/thesis with every title beginning with "A ." I think something like "A thickly peopled context" would be a great title.
All personal acts originate and terminate in interruptions. Consequently, it would seem to be misleading to approach the analysis of the personal acts as arising in impulse. Impulses may interrupt what one is doing, but there is a myriad of other sources of interruption, some rigidly scheduled, like the regularized entrances and exits or the appointments of quotidian existence; others unscheduled, like the surprises and dissappointments of tde daily round. (Stone 1977: 2)
Vary much the note I hit myself in my badly worded argument against Skinner's disgustingly reductionistic model of communication: that people are "embedded into the mess of routines and surprises of everyday life."
Personal acts are meaningful, and, if they are consummated at all, it is that they have become understandable either within the internalized conversation we call thought, in the conversation we carry on with others, or, to be more accurate, in both our thought and conversation. The beauty of all this, perhaps the refreshing paradox, is that such meaning is seldom devoid of ambiguity, that such understanding is never total. It is for this reason that I have sought elsewhere to box the compassion of meaning with the polar limits of non-sense and boredom (Stone, 1970a: p. 396). If our act is understood by no other one at all, it is non-sense, and others will leave our presence. If our act is totally understood, there is nothing to demand another's continued presence; nothing more to say. (Stone 1977: 3)
Yesterday I watched through the complete 2 seasons of The Office (UK version). The original show was rought with facepalmesque awkwardness. Many a times did I imagine how I would, in place of these people, just walk out of the room. Leaving a nonsensical person's presence seems like a natural reaction. "I have no idea what you're doing. I'm out."
A symbol is significant to the extent it calls out in others a line of action similar to the line of action it calls out in the one who puts it forth. It is the "fitting together" of individual lines of action (Blumer, 1969: pp. 9-10; 16-20) - a "joint action" - that ratifies the significance of symbols. (Stone 1977: 3)
Someday (I'm daydreaming again) I wish to write a piece on "the insignificant gesture." I think it would be interesting to consider some ways in which we miss each other's meaning. Even more, miss each other's gestures: the verbal greeting that wasn't heard, the handwave or headnod that wasn't seen, the acquaintance who wasn't recognized, the gazes that didn't meet, and many other forms of human contact that simply doesn't occur or when it does then goes awry.
To construe the personal act as a symbolic production is always to refer that act to another. Moreover, it is to acknowledge that any aspect of behavior may be conduct, literally a leading together (with the act of another). Personal acts are concerted, and it is in the concert that we find meaning or mind. (Stone 1977: 4)
This little bit of etymology is extremely valuable. Conduct is the leading together. Concourse is the coming together. Now, what is the difference? That conduct involves people and concourse involves heterogeneous systems of signs? Here's also a kef to differentiate concursivity from intersemiotic translation: in intersemiotic translation something is translated from system A to system B; in concourse something involves simultaneously system A and system B. In verbal concourse a verbal description (system A) stands for bodily behaviour (system B). But if I read the verbal description and read it as an instruction and perform the bodily behaviour described, then I'm performing an intersemiotic translation. The semioticity of the resulting behaviour consists of it standing for the verbal descriptions. Then again if I write a concursive passage and describe the actual bodily behaviour of someone in my own words, it does not appear to be an intersemiotic translation, because the actual bodily behaviour of that someone is not semiotic. Making the matter even more murkier: if the description is not about an actual person but about an imaginary one, then the description stands for non-existant behaviour and is semiotic because it stands for the imagination of the writer-descriptor. Even more, the visualized imaginations themselves most likely are not novel postures or gestures but, rather, past memories or, alternatively, belonging to "the folklore of gestures," in which case they may not even be necessarily visualized by the author. It seems like a comprehensive typology or explanation of concursivity will be a tough nut to crack.
I have anchored the role in identity rather than status, because it is the more general term. All status are identities, but not all identities are status, e.g., not first names nor many nick-names. Moreover, the term has been given different meanings by sociologists like Maine and Weber, as well as by social anthropologists like Linton. (Stone 1977: 7)
A very common problems with these terms. The technical relationships of status, identity, roles, rules, ranks, etc. are different in almost every author.
It should also be emphasized that some greetings and farewells may only seem to be exchanged. In no way may they be considered communications or even impersonal acts. The "havenizing" that takes place over the counter at supermarket cash registers is a case in pount. "Have a nice day" is a noise tossed out by an android, and the phrase ricochets off an unhearing ear into a vast echo chamber of canned goods, packaged junk, and frozen glock where it may disturb for a brief moment the sound of muzak. (Stone 1977: 10-11)
The comparison with muzak is apt. There was recently a journalistic piece by a female university graduate who worked at a local supermarket and wrote a piece about her experience. I'll try to translate: "The sounds I heard every day while working constitute the symphony of Maxima [the name of the supermarket] - the buzz of the conveyer belt while the goods travel towards me, the peeps of bar-code scanners at every cash register, the terrible noise when closing the cigarette display, the sounds of shoppers' conversations when they speak to each other as if I don't even exist, as if I don't hear. And then, finally, my solo: "Maxima card?"
Were I to introduce the term, "unconscious," a concatenation of consequences would be generated which I wish to avoid. As Schmalenbach implies and I would assert, one's unconscious is only known in another consciousness (Lueschen and Stone, 1977; p. 258) (Stone 1977: 13; footnote 11)
I just had a deja vu with this last sentence. This issue is well-known, e.g. utterances like "I think in my unconscious mind..." are oxymoronic because if you are able to think and talk about something in your consciousness then it's not really unconscious, is it now...
If we turn to sheer lexicality - Nama - in this light, then a glance at Chinese ideographs is instructive. Consider the words:
Ask yourself the imagery that is called up by these arrangements of the Roman alphabet. Reflect and imagine. After a time of contemplation, consider the Chinese ideographs (too expensive to reproduce in this publication). A woman under one roof represents peace; two women under one roof, war; and three women under one roof, a whorehouse. Reflect and imagine once again. Now contrast the imagery evoked by the quasi-phonetic arrangement of letters and that evoked by the ideographs. Two lexical representations of the same "events" elicit different responses by virtue of their obdurate, given, or intrinsic reality. (Stone 1977: 16)

Bonfante, G. and Thomas A. Sebeok 1944. Linguistics and the Age and Area Hypothesis. American Anthropologist 46(3): 382-386.

Since elements of language - lexical, phonological, morphological, and syntactical alike - are nothing but cultural traits of a special sort ,the findings of linguistig geography, mutatis mutandis, should be applicable to other types of culture traits as well. The following brief summary of general principles, with a few illustrations, is offered in the hope that the ethnologist and social anthropologist, encouraged by the success of the linguist, will find in the result of the lotter some interest and relevance to his own special field. (Bonfante & Sebeok 1944: 382)
Indeed I imagine the possibility of "nonverbalist geography" which would study the spatial distribution of gestures, proxemics, manners, display rules, etc. Aside from this pipe-dreamy notion there is nothing more to quote from this short article; the rest of it consists of tables and lists words in italian and other dialects.

Arensberg, Conrad M. 1972. Culture as Behavior: Structure and Emergence. Annual Review of Anthropology 1: 1-27.

Culture, as man's special behavior, remains the theme still implicit in the background of all the subdisciplines [of antropology]. (Arensberg 1972: 1)
E.g. only human beings are the bearers culture.
In 1970, much as today, Selby (17) saw us an cencerned with three large themes:
  1. "White-box cognition." Selby used this name to designate a search for a language for cultural study with which to describe behavioral processes, one that would put the human being back into central place - in short, a behavioral anthropology.
  2. "Unconscious" models of social structures and process. Here we must remember with Levi-Strauss (11) in his seminal article, Social Structure, of 1953 that these are the anthropologists' constructs, not the natives' folk-sociology.
  3. Prior to tochnology and ecology.
(Arensberg 1972: 3)
Behavioral anthropology sounds great (a designation for Hall and Birdwhistell?) if it is not behaviorist anhropology. The remark about folk-sociology made me wonder if concursive study of what has been written about nonverbal behavior cannot be termed folk-semiotics (similar to the "popular semiotics of gesture").
He [Barth] identified three kinds of model whereby anthropologists today "depict the social order." There were jural rules (ofnet the British attempt), cognitive categories (often the American one), and an interactional system (the one he favored), a model of the "constraints on individuals that arise from the behaviors of others in a social system." (Arensberg 1972: 4)
The last one sounds the like the preferable one for me as well, although I have some difficulties imagining what those constraints could be.
There have been others who have found in social interaction the nexus of structure, behavior, meaning, and society. (Arensberg 1972: 4)
This is a meritorious expression. The only other use of the word "nexus" I can recall is that of Foucault's nexus of body and power (and discourse?).
Unifying models structuring cultural data can now be cachieved that address our central subject matter: social and interpersonal behavior regularized into culture from the start. They need not be important analogues. They certainly are not egocentric or reductionist; they may thus have a good fit and the widest scope from the first. I will argue that we can already unite most of schools on the high road of natural science and andvance with the materials we already have. We can achieve a new and combinatory inferetce of structure, a different kind of modeling and processing of our data, their orders, and the outcomes emergent from their orders. I will try to demonstrate that what I shall call minimal-sequence modeling of human social interactional behavior - a human ethology, if you will, of variously patterned and concatenated social repertories - can both generate cultural forms and their strategic arenas and account for the disputed formal and other "deep structures of the mind" that seem to so many observers to underlie cultural behavior. (Arensberg 1972: 6)
At about the same time Eibl-Eibesfeldt did make public his human ethological account of some behavioural patterns which we today recognize readily as part of human sociar repertoire, such as the eyebrow flash when one meets an aquaintance.
...mere words of lanugage... (Arensberg 1972: 9)
A semitoics fo lanugage
It anticipated S. F. Nadel in showing scholarly experience to have already demonstrated that culture and social structure are emergents from "recurrent regularities of the behaviou of persons with and upon one another and in respect to one another." (See Nadel's Foundations of Social Anthropology 14.) It held that the events in which these recurrennces appear can be identified, followed, and compared most meaningfully by coding them naturalistically in the very broadest and most general terms applicable to any and all of them, thus with operations of descripition and classification potentially if not yet consciously as universal, as replicable, and as verifiable as those of natural science. (Arensberg 1972: 10)
This is the driest text I have read in a while. Comparable to Hillary Clinton's speech to in Korea a while ago where she read some sort of disclaimer that contained several synonyms for every word, in order to make the message as clear as possible (and in the process making it kind of ridiculous).
Dynamics and process are still looked at as successions of nebulous states rather than as vectors of action in a human field. Systems are all too often invoked in which every other factor is coded, but the flows of action among the system-elements which are live persons is ignored. (Arensberg 1972: 11)
Ah! Vectors of action! I've been looking for conflations of modern computer(graphics) lingo and human behaviour. Vectorization makes sense, as human movement can indeed be processed into movements of fixed points. At least that's the idea of the "mathematical approach" to behaviour.
The full permutation matrix which now arises is:
In five generational recurrences, a minimal structure arises in which... (Arensberg 1972: 25)
Nooooo, piss off.

Sebeok, Thomas A. 1962. Coding in the Evolution of Signalling Behavior. Behavioral Science 7(4): 430-442.

Communication engineers often distinguisd between two kinds of control machines: those for counting and those for measuring. The former, which are all-or-none devices, are sometimes called digital; they are of a "yes-or-no" type. The latter, which operate on the basis of connections between measured quantities and the quantities they represent, are ,by contrast, known as analog; they are of a "more-or-less" type. The prototype of a digital system is the abacus, that of the analog the slide rule; in the realm of biology, our heartbeat may be said to illustrate the former, and our capillary flow the latter, type of process. The chief limitation of analog systems relates to their accuracy; on the other hand, those physical systems which are able to make yes-or-no decisions can achieve any desired precision, given sufficient capacity and time. (Sebeok 1962: 430)
Curiously I have not met such a clear-minded and clever explanation of these categories before.
There is a vocal-auditory band which couples movements of vocal muscles with stimulation of auditory reception. There is also a gestural-visual band which couples movements of facial and body muscles vith stimulation of visual receptors. Interpersonal messages in everyday communication travel simultaneously over these aiditory and visual avenues, typically reinforcing one another but occasionally conflicting in certain situations. (Sebeok 1962: 432)
Verbal vs. nonverbal in 1950s terms.
... ( Shannon & Weaver, 1949). This model of the communication process, developed in connection with engineering problems, was not intended as a blueprint of human communication. For one thing, it implies normal separation of source and destination, of transmitter and receiver, whereas the individual human functions more or less simultaneously as both - indeed, he regularly decodes through various homeostatic mechanisms the message he himself has encoded. (Sebeok 1962: 433)
The last bit is self-communication. Otherwise this sounds the same as Birdwhistell's elaboration of S&W communication model.
Charles Darwin was one of thi first (he himsely cited Herbert Spencer's essay on "The Origin and Function of Music" in this context) to explore in methodological detail, as well as to provide with an evolutionary interpretation, what he called The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872(. In the fourth chapter, where he takes up specifically "a very obscure subject," the emission of sound, he remarks that any precise explanation of the cause or source of each particular sound, under different stages of mind, will ever be given." Half a century later, Sapir (1927) echoed Darwin's observation: "The voice is a complicated bundle of reactions and, so far as the writer knows, no one has succeeded in giving a comprehensive account of what the voice is and what changes it may undergo. There seems to be no book or essay that classifies the many different types of voice, nor is there a nomenclature that is capable of doing justice to the bewildering range of voice phenomna." And over a quarter of a century still later, Jakobson and Halle (1956, p. 11) are obliged to repeat that the systematic study of such "physiognomical indices," as they prefer to call them here, "still remains on the agenda." (Sebeok 1962: 436)
Of course a decade after this article when synthesizers were invented the study of paralanguage and emotional cues in the voice ensued.

Denzin, Norman K. 1987. On Semiotics and Symbolic Interactionism. Symbolic Interactionism 10(1): 1-19.

Inverting Saussure, Barthes asserts that semiotics is a part of linguistics, in particular that part which deals with the "signifying unitien of discourse" (Barthes [1964] 1967, p. 11, emphasis in original). With this proposal he attempts to organize the fields of anthropology, psychoanalysis, and sociology around the study of discourse and the concept of signification. (Denzin 1987: 2)
It seems that this is pretty much what happened, e.g. discourse studies.
Cultural objects are organized in terms of four logics. Baudrillard (1981, p. 66) terms these (1) the logic of use value (or utility); (2) the logic of exchange value (or of the market); (3) the logic of symbolic exchange (or the logic of the gift), and (4) the logic of sign value (or the logic of status). These terms gorm your groupings, or four meanings an object may assume: (1) as an instrument, (2) as a commodity, (3) as a symbol, or a set of significations, and (4) as a sign. The meaning of an object is thus inseparable from its location in each of these four groupings, each of which is governed by a different logic of signification. (Denzin 1987: 6)
So Baudrillard is the source for Leeds-Hurwitz's (1993: 128) categaries. Hers of course have conflated symbol and sign and she states that an object can belong to all three categories at once.
Although MacCannell does not clarify his use of the terms syntactic components and semantic components, presumably he means (1) that symbols reference fixed, denotative meanings, whereas (2) signs reference connotative meanings that have become conventional within situations. Examples of each would be smoke for fire (symbol) and the color of red for danger (sign). For a somewhat confusing treatment of these points, see MacCannell (1986, pp. 163-166) and Harman (1986, pp. 148-149). I shall argue later in this article that these distinctions are basically irrelevant for a political economy of signs in the postmodern period (see alse Mills 1959, pp. 166-176). (Denzin 1987: 16; note 6)
No! You do not mix Peirce with Saussure; smoke is not an arbitrary/conventional symbol of fire, and these distinctions are actually quite relevant. God damn this was a pointless article.

Dewey, John 1946. Peirce's Theory of Linguistic Signs, Thought, and Meaning. The Journal of Philosophy 43(4): 85-95.

Since Morris has professed to be sympathetic with Peirce's theory, it is especially important to rescue Peirce's theory by reference to Peirce's own writings before an Ersatz takes placce of what Peirce actually held. (Dewey 1946: 85)
If Morris's theory is Ersatz then it might paradoxically be better than the original. That is, Morris didn't replace Peirce, he improved on him.
"The interpreter may be included as a fourth factor." Or, summarizing, "The takings-account of are interpretants; the agents of the process are interpreters." In a later passage the "process of interpreting" is telescoped into the interpretant, and the consolidation is henceforth called the "interpretant." The three factors of semiosis dealt with in the rest of the monograph are, accordingly, "sign vehicle, designatum, interpreter." Since the deviation from Peirce, amounting as has been said to a reversal, is connected with the gratuitous introduction of an "interpreter," and since this introduction is the source from which there flows the account of the pracmatic and of pragmatism given by Morris, it may seem at first sight as if the point at issue in this article were the nature of "pragmatism." (Dewey 1946: 86)
It seems that the real reason Dewey had ants in his pants is because it seemed to him that Morris was burgeoning on his territory (pragmatism).
By parcelling out the triadic relation mentioned above, Morris obtains three dyadic "dimensions." The dyadic "relation of signs to that to which they are applicable" is called the semantic dimension; "the relation of signs to one another" is called the syntactical dimension; while "the relation of signs to interpreters" is called the pragmatic dimension. It is further added that in their semantic dimension, signs designate and/or denote; in their syntactic dimension, they implicate; in their pragmatic dimension, they express. (Dewey 1946: 86)
I wonder what would syntactic "implication" between signs mean in terms of nonverbal behaviour. And, to be honest, the expressive function of signs in the pragmatic dimension seems vague to me. At this point I'm still not sure what pragmatics, pragmatism and pragmaticism are about.
...to the pragmatic dimension there remains the extra-cognitive, extra-logical domain which includes "all the psychological, biological, and sociological phenomena which occur in the functioning of signs." (Dewey 1946: 86)
That is way too general.
And while the point at issue is not the nature of pragmatics [Oh ei, kindlasti mitte!], much less its correctness, discussion must begin at this place since Morris's misinterpretation, as far as Peirce is concerned, centers at and proceeds from his extraordinary account of what Peirce means by "pragmatic" in connection with linguistic signs. The actual issue, however, is the theory of Peirce concerning the nature of linguistic signs and of meaning. The misrepresentation in question consisting in converting Interpretant, as used by Peirce, into a personal user or interpreter. To Peirce, "interpreter," if he used the word, would mean that which interprets, thereby giving meaning to a linguistic sign. I do not believe that it is possible to exaggerate the scorn with which Peirce would treat the notion that what interprets a given linguistic sign can be left to the whim or caprice of those who happen to use it. But it does not follow from this fact that Peirce holds that the interpretant, that which interprets a linguistic sign, is an "object" in the sense of an existential "thing". On the contrary, the interpretant, in Peirce's usage, is always and necessarily another linguistic sign - or, better, a set of such signs. (Dewey 1946: 87)
I don't believe Peirce meant the interpretant only in the sense of linguistic sign. And if it is true that the interpretant is always another sign, then we have no issue with it being the interpreter. Keep in mind that man is himself a sign. That is to say, there are many strands in Peirce's thought which can be tied together in a variety of ways. No one of them is the final and absolutely correct one. At least not until a time machine is invented and Peirce himself is consulted.
The extent to which the view presented in these passages inverts Peirce may be gathered from the fact that Peirce uniformly holds (1) that there is no such thing as a sign in isolation, every sign being a contituent of a sequential set of signs, so that apart from membership in this set, a thing has no meaning - or is not a sign; and (2) that in the sequential movement of signs this ordered, the meaning of the earlier ones in the series is provided by or constituted by the later ones as their interpretants, until a conclusion (logical as a matter of course) is reached. Indeed, Peirce adheres so consistently to this view that he says, more than once, that signs, as such, form an infinite series, so that no conclusion of reasoning is forever final, being inherently open to having its meaning modified by further signs.
Verbally, this intrinsic "relation of signs to one another" sounds like the syntactic dimension of Morris. But in the case of Peirce this moving or sequential relation of signs is formal only in the sense of being the form-of-the-movement-of-an-ordered-series-of-signs-to-a-conclusion. The formal treatment of Peirce is found in his Logic of Relatives, which is integrally connected with his whole theory of signs. That to Peirce the movement of signs, while it has form, is itself material or factual, not formal, appears clearly in the followig passage: "To say, therefore, that thought cannot happen in an instant, but requires a time, is but another way of saying every thought must be interpreted in another, or that all thought is in signs." (Dewey 1946: 88)
Tho question of form does not appear clearly to me. In fact I have very little idea what people mean when they use this term. Is it like a "shape?" I really don't know. Thus I am unable to find the error here. It rather seems to me that Morris's syntactic dimension is not the same as Peirce's infinite semiosis and there is no point in comparing the two.
We are continually bumping against hard fact. ... There can be no resistance without effort; there can be no effort without resistance. They are only two ways of describing the same experience. It is a double consciousness. ... As the consciousness itself is two-sided, so it has also two varieties; namely, action, where our modification of other things is more prominent than their reaction on us, and perception, where their effect on us is overwhelmingly greater than our effect on them. And this notion, of being such as other things make us, is such a prominent part of our life that we conceive other things also to exist in virtue of their reactions against each other. The idea of other, of not, becomes a very pivot of thought. To this element I give the name of Secondness.
The passage is quoted at length. It indicates not only how, according to Peirce, reference of linguistic signs to things is accomplished, namely, through their getting into connection with indexical signs, but in its "two-sidedness" anticipates what James, later, but probably independently, called the doublebarreledness of experience. Implicitly, but not explicitly, it anticipates the principle of "indeterminacy," according to which, when a cat looks at a king, there is a bumping in which the king as well as the cat is moved - though not of course to anything like the same extent. Perception of "internal" and "external" worlds is a matter of one and the same event - the event to which, in recent psychology, the name "sensori-motor" is applied. Andi while Peirce uses the word "internal" to express the organism's part in this two-sided affair, it is equally true that the organism's side is "external" to that of the part of environing conditions in the common transaction. It all depends, so to say, on whose side we are on. (Dewey 1946: 90)
I'm not exactly sure why Dewey is quoting this (his arguments are too fine for my rough mind), but I am quoting this at length because what I just read here reminds me of Uexküll's funktionkreis. That is, this "double consciousness" is basically the two relations an organism has with it's environment: in action we work on the environment through the effort of our muscles (Wirkwelt, the world of operation), and in perception the environment grants us a semiotic model of itself that stand for actual objects in the environment (Merkwelt, the world of signs). Moreover, the contention that "other things make us" is not far off from Uexküll's discussion of how the sun makes the eye or how the flower makes the bee (or something to that effect). The similarity with James's doublebarreledness of experience and psychological theories of sensori-motor activity may be apt, especially because the latter might have stemmed directly or indirectly from Uexküll, but I have no idea how any of this is related to linguistic signs. Am I too much of a brute to read between the lines? You're making me feel dumb, Mr. Dewey.
It is not part of the present paper to go into detail about the way in which linguistic signs interlock with indexical signs [kuigi just see paistab olevat puudu Dewey argumendi mõistmisest]. It suffices to say that such interception takes place and that by and through it linguistic signs get that reference to and connection with "things" which by themselves they lack. It is also true to say that our scientific knowledge (with the exception of mathematics) and those portions of "common-sense" knowledge which possesses generality along with existential reference represent an interlockinc of linguistic with non-singuistic modes of behavior. While he does not use the following mode of speech it is, I believe, faithful to his position to say that in the course of cosmic or natural evolution, linguistic behavior supervenes on other more immediate and, so to say, physiological modes of behavior, and that in supervening it also intervenes in the course of the latter, so that through this mediation regularity, continuity, generality become properties of the course of events, so that they are raised to the plane of reasonableness. (Dewey 1946: 91-92)
Well this was unexpected: out of the blue Dewey gave me something for my concursive project, even if only in terms of phraseology (e.g. "interlocking"). What he seems to suggest in the latter part of this quote is that by languaging (I'll just go ahead and use this neat term) about physiological behavior (which I'll just go ahead and identify with nonverbal/bodily behaviour), behaviour is brought to the realm of discourse (as regularity, continuity and generality of behaviour) and made "reasonable" (whatever that may mean, a foreign term for me, just like "form"). It almost seems that I could speak of concursivity in terms of "supervening" or describing/discussing the nonverbal and "intervening" or modifying/influencing the nonverbal. The latter amounts to the well-known understanding that when one talks about body language then one inadvertantly manages to change the body language of listeners (or, actually, everyone present) in some way or another. Supervening and intervening in this sense links up readily with "nonverbal ethics," e.g. if it is legitimate to describe the bodily behaviour of another, or might it constitute too much of a bearch. It is one thing to observe but wholly another to start making observations (as statements) about someone's behaviour.
In one passage Peirce explicitly differentiates three kinds of "interpretants." The "interpretant" of an iconic sign, as a form of Firstness, is emotional; that of an indexical sign is, as we have already seen in another connection, energetic. Meaning, or intellectual and logical, interpretants are found, however, exclusively, in connection with linguistic signs. These signs are in their interconnections are "thought." (Dewey 1946: 92)
Yet another iteration of Peirce's three interpretants. This one actually shed some light on energetic interpretants - they have to do, as Secondness generally now does - with Uexküll's effector cues (Wirk). It is still doubtful whether it would be imposing to suggest that the latter involve Firstness, perceptual cues (Merk) involve Secondness and - which feels really imposing to suggest - that "higher brain functions" or "man's special behavior," that is, Culture, and the universe of the mind generally, is involved with Thirdness. That would privilege Thirdness, or the realm of generalities and laws, to the large neocortex yielding homo sapiens. And on the latter note I am suspicious whether a neurocognitive interpretation of Peirce's Firstness, Secondness and Thirdness wouldn't make sense in relation with the mammalian brain, the reptilian brain and the neocortex. Supposedly there amylgada deals with emotions, the neocortex with intellection, and surely some part of the brain has to do with controlling the body (the energetic interpretants). I am too much of a newb to follow these suggestions up with anything, but maybe someday someone somewhere will try to. Good luck!
So far is he from penning the sociological, along with the biological, within "phenomena that occur in the functioning of signs," that he sticks to the observed fact that language and linguistic signs are modes or forms of communication, and thus are intrinsically "social." In so many words he says "Logic is rooted in the social principle." "No mind can take one step without the aid of other minds" - mind as thought being defined, be it recalled, in terms of linguistic signs. "When we come to the study the great principles of continuity and see how all is fluid and every point directly partakes of the being of every other, it will appear that individualism and falsity are one and the same. Meantime, we know that man is not whole as long as he is single, that he is essentially a possible member of society. Especially, one man's experience is nothing, if it stands alone. ... It is not 'my' experience but "our" experience that has to be thought of; and this 'us' has indefinite possibilites." (Dewey 1946: 94)
The aid of other minds for progress of one's own mind I like - it sounds like the "standing on the shoulders of giants" quip. My own success is only possible thanks to the many great minds that have with their writings contributed to this blog. But I'm sorry to add Peirce to the list of thinkers who agree that "only error individualizes" (the list currently consists of T.S. Eliot and M. Bahtin). I think people should be enabled to be individuals, to be "in the wrong" (in the eyes of the rest of society) if they so choose. The multitude of agreeing masses should not override the disagreeing individual; there may be a good reason to disagree which the masses are unable to see. That is to say, the expertise of a knowledgeable individual may very well be greater than the common sense of an unknowledgeable multitude.
"Users" of Peirce's writings should either stick to his basic pattern or leave him alone. (Dewey 1946: 95)

Gans, Herbert J. 1999. Participant Observation in the Era of "Ethnography". Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 28(5): 540-548.

PO [Participant Observation] is still mp preferred method. I also consider it the most scientific, because it is the only one that gets close to people. In addition, it allows researchers to observe what people do, while all the other empirical methods are limited te reporting what people say about what they do. (Gans 1999: 540)
This is a weird measure of scientificity. It should rather read "the most sociological," because you get close socially to people. The remark about observing rather than reprting seemed ingenius until I realized that "observing" is in the name of the method: participant observation. And it doesn't improve the situation as much as it might seem. Instead of reporting what people say about what they do, you are reporting what you say about what they do.
Nonempirical ethnography is dominated by an endless stream of books about PO methodology, which may now even outnumber book-length PO studies. (Gans 1999: 541)
I wonder why no one seems to complain much about similarity of the situation in semiotics. Most semiotics monographs seem to be theoretical. There are very few empirical studies I could recall. Moreover, some semiotic empirical work (e.g. Denzin's (1987) analysis of whiskey bottle labels above) is either vacuous, pointless or theoretically unsound. On second hand I'm not even sure what "empirical study" would constitute in semiotics. Maybe Irene Portis-Winner's 2002. Semiotics of Peasants in Transition, a chapter of which seemed pretty sound and interesting.
The latest form of ethnography, at this writing at least, is "autoethnography," which already comes with its own variations but is basically autobiagraphy written by sociologists. It represents not only the climax of the preoccupation with the self that is at the heart of too much contemporary ethnography but also the product of a postmodern but asocial theory of knowledge that argues the impossibility of knowing anything beyond the self. (Gans 1999: 542)
Haha. I recently downloaded a bunch of articles on autoethnography and days later when I happened to wonder into the autoethnography folder I opened one article and it was an article about writing that article. A classical "Yo dawg, I heard you like..." situation. It was too much for me, I had to close it and leave that folder be. I think getting into autoethnography takes some mental preparation. In this aspect I agree with Gans. I tried perusing the collection of articles on ethnography wherein I published my first article on concursivity and had to retreat for the same reason: every article seemed to begin with something personal. No wonder they put my article in front - I might have been the only one who avoided the words "I" and "my." This is of course speculation.
Even if it is well meant and well done, this kind of ethnography has nothing to do with analyzing what people do with and to each other in their groups and networks, or how institutions and communities function and malfunction. Abandoned also is the effort to use sociology and years of intensive field research to report to readers about parts of society about which they know only stereotypes. (Gans 1999: 542)
I think these might be exactly the aspects that made Portis-Winner an interesting read. I should keep these aims in mind for my own participant observation if I do get so far.
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