Phatic Qualia

Lemon, Alaina 2013. Touching the gap: Social qualia and Cold War contact. Anthropological Theory 13(1-2): 67-88.

How do we sense the social? Anthropologists have skillfully explored ways people align sensations with social taxonomies: smells, tastes, and textures with class, nation, motherhood, and so on. But what of instances when people claim to detect, or behave as if they sense, basic principles of social affinity or alienation? How do they situate such claims? One lesson that Nancy Munn taught us in Fame of Gawa (1986) is that people formulate judgments about social values - e.g. 'selfishness' vs. 'generosity' - not only through structural oppositions ('us' vs. 'them'), but also through affordances of sense data, which they project across multiple domains of social activity. (Lemon 2013: 67)
The semiotician would argue that we "sense the social" through signs, especially social signs (or through sociosemiotic processes like languaging in social interactions). There is no reason why these signs must pertain to Thirdness (linguistic symbols). They can also pertain to Firstness (perceptible qualities). Here the main qualities seem to be affinity and alienation, which are projected on social activity. My guess is that phaticity here concerns not only the in-group / out-group distinction but takes into account the gray area between these polar oppositions: groups are closer and distant to each other.
Another lesson is that seemingly very specific qualia, along with any 'feelings' or 'sensible capacities' bundled with them, matter in the making of the 'large scale' relations as such, to that which we call 'geopolitics' or 'world markets' (From Russia with Love...). (Lemon 2013: 68)
I.e. how do we as Estonians feel about Russia? Foreign Policy Research Institute's recent article, "Russian Propaganda, Disinformation, and Estonia's Experience" pertains to this.
To theorize processes whereby people claim to sense (and perhaps do come to feel) the social, the terms 'qualia' and 'qualic signs' will help us. Qualic signs can be words, gestures, images, demarcations of space, etc., by which people indicate what they perceive (or misrecognize) to be a material affordances or quality, here especially qualities considered to express the essence of relationship. By 'the social', I should specify that I mean those vectors of relation that people may or may not consider to extend to an endpoint: vectors that people characterize as 'connection' or 'gap'. (Lemon 2013: 68)
And this is where qualic signs pertain to phatics. Qualic sign is explained in the notes as "a sinsign that points to someone's idea of a qualisign." Notice that there's also a possibility of a qualic legisign, i.e. signs that point to general ideas of qualities.
I propose, pace Derrida, that absence is just as fantastically elaborated as presence, vacuum as touch. Habits of meta-social commentary may lead us to think of 'contact' as more readily expressed in terms of sensory qualia, but 'gaps', too, are never simple generic blanks. One problem is that we, as social theorists, can become accustomed to lump together quite varied gaps, real and metaphoric, and even confuse ourselves. (Lemon 2013: 68)
This is where it gets really interesting, because "meta-social commentary" is basically discussion about social relations (or social contacts). But now the notion of "sensory qualia" needs to be explained.
To attend to qualia of social contacts and gaps means foregrounding what scholars have bracketed away as marginal: 'para' linguistic forms of phatic functions that attend to media ('Hello? Is the line clear?). Mediation itself, as it turns out, forms a key locus of attention in discourses about contact and its alleged failures. Where contact seems to fail, phatic attention is more frequent, frantic, or forcefully reflexive, even to grant material qualities to mediating semiosis as if this act would guarantee the qualities of human relationships themselves. But then, what are phatic communications for if not to perform relations (as Bateson reminded us)? (Lemon 2013: 68)
Oh my- there's a lot to unpack here. Attending to the qualia of social contacts can be thought of as "meta-social commentary" just as easily as something like "discourse on sociality". Indeed, what I have previously termed - due to not having suitable words - "history taking" in interactions basically amounts to "attending to qualia of social contacts". E.g. when podcasts begin with phatic routines detailing social relationships, they are attending not only to the existence of said relationships but also to the qualities of those relationships (i.e. "We had a beef but we squashed it. We're friends now."). Foregrounding mediation brings to mind the phatic tendencies of amateur writers - especially blog writers - who often write about how they are writing (i.e. "I should post to this blog more."). Forceful reflexivity is an interesting concept, if only because I've yet to see anyone take "reflexivity" in phatic communion very seriously - I have myself attempted to approach this topic with the concept of "autonomy", which is unmistakably inadequate. I also like that Bateson is referenced. The genealogical relation between Jakobson's phatic function and Bateson's metacommunication (or mu-function) is undeniable. // In hindsight I am also disappointed because this is not actually a reference to Bateson (he is indeed missing from the list of references). It's just a name-drop. So I cannot look up what Bateson wrote about "performing relations", if he ever did write anything of the kind.
This is a practical possibility, I argue, because people meld the 'sensible' with the 'emotional', the 'affective', and the 'sentimental'. People are prone to combine what analysts would divide: 'sensation' easily slips into 'emotion', then into the emotional capacity of persons, or even of some social entity or group. These slippery movements, as they concatenate over the seeming ground of sense data, lend their scalar productions, from diplomatic relations to intimate ones, a stubborn common sense (putting the obligatory ironic quotation marks around 'From Russia with Love', for instance). (Lemon 2013: 68)
I think this happens due to the inherent ambiguity in Peirce's category of Firstness. It pertains simultaneously to quality, actuality, perception, emotion, possibility, vagueness, and the ground. Firstness is, most concisely, "quality of feeling". Is feeling meant in the sense of "emotion" or in the sense of "perception"? That's where the trouble comes. The gradient from diplomatic relations to intimate ones is quite compatible with the social matrix approach of Ruesch and Bateson (1951), i.e. the levels of intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, and social communication. Intimate relations are interpersonal while diplomatic relations are social. In the latter case it has to be elaborated that this concerns the exteroceptive orientation: not relations within a society but between societies. So in effect we are dealing here with the perception of other societies (and not with Thirdness or how other societies are conceptualized, it must be remarked, but with how it is felt about other societies).
As numerous journalists, historians, humanist scholars and others have documented, Cold War containment, the global racial politics of cool jazz, the coolness of midcentury modern were not historically unrelated, but each indexed different modes of alienation. And each narrative genre painted its 'chill' with different materials. Moreover, 'chill' and 'warmth,' as we will see, along with other qualia that seem opposed, such as 'luster' and 'dullness', 'laxity' and 'tautness', can adhere alternately to both contacts as well as to gaps.
And so, rather than assuming we know what social contact and gaps are made of, this paper attends to people working in institutions who have concerned themselves with 'feeling the social', and contrasts their efforts across one of the 'largest' gaps of the 20th century: the Cold War. (Lemon 2013: 69)
These are the so-called phatic experts?
In a Perm rehearsal hall or in a D.C. interrogation room, people engage overlapping but competing Cold War social ontologies to determine whether 'gap' has been breached or 'contact' made, across varying distances and scales (which they, in turn, create). (Lemon 2013: 69)
This is on the diplomatic level. But the intimate level is not absent. There is a documented case of an American named Morgan Hall prank-calling the Soviet Union in 1986 and reaching an student who happened to speak English (due to studying at Tallinn's English College, a high school with an English gimmick). But even here the "phatic expert" aspect is not missing - after this prank call, the KGB contacted the family of said student and inquired about their intentions. And later in life both the prank caller and the prank called student became diplomats. Funny story.
In both Le Guin's fiction and in the Hollywood films, socialist worlds require sensory indifference. In both, the capitalist world overwhelms the travelers with sensory plenitude, dazzles them with the diverse qualities of things. In both, qualia associated with specific materials also signify something less tangible about intersubjective contact - thus blending 'sense' and 'feeling'. In both, social-affective contacts that humans make with non-human matter catalyze shifts in the nature of human-human contact. Where they differ is in how such contacts affect sociality: in one fiction, the sensory lack of socialism divides people from each other while capitalist plenitude lays the sensory ground for feelings of human connection. In the other, it is anarcho-socialist austerity that clears the air for true bonds, and capitalist qualitative excess that confuses and alienates. It is as if sensations of materials give body to social contacts in one and carve gaps in the other. (Lemon 2013: 71-72)
A similar critique could probably be conducted on IRL and online communication. For example, IRL the communicative contact comes first and is succeeded by informative communication (phatic routines followed by a flow of words), while online communication usually follows the opposite direction: first you look at a person's profile, read their work, view their videos, etc. and then you message them. It's not as clear-cut as that, but it's certainly possible.
If so, note that as the diplomats blurred the qualia of material sensation with signs of emotional capacity, they created a 'gap' not from blank absence but from myriad presences, not of nothing but of many specific somethings. Based on this case, we might flesh out the axiom that any judgment that there 'is no there there' is just as pragmatically grounded in conditions and perspectives as anything else one might claim about social relations. (Lemon 2013: 73)
I was somewhat confused by this phrase when Joe used it. Now that I googled it it turns out that it's a phrase by Gertrude Stein. When she returned to her childhood home she couldn't find it. My grandfather actually had a similar experience - he was deported by Germans from mother Russia during WWII when he was a young boy. His childhood village had been burned down and demolished. When he returned the only signs of his childhood that he found were some foundation stones and little else.
One of the most illuminating aspects of Nancy Munn's ethnography of the qualia of fame is the way it situates social categories within networks and activities that extend beyond here-and-now on the island of Gawa: judgments and decisions at the most local scale of interaction interlock with speculation about future judgments of others, across the island and across the sea. Evene imagined responses exert force on action. Taking this insight to heart, I introduce examples now from the other side of the former 'Iron Curtain'. Awareness - and misrecognition - of how any other judges 'us' has its own consequences, even when those forms of awareness do not emerge at the scales defined by diplomatic meetings or military encounters. (Lemon 2013: 73-74)
This concerns the so-called "radius of communication" as well as "fantasy communication". Here these two mix in a curious way: you imagine not only how a specific other person might respond but how a whole group of unknown people might respond. This is something writers must constantly contend with, at least if they're self-reflexive enough. It also extends the "network of sociability" in an unprecedented manner: we an embedded not only in the social network we are aware about but also in a social network that we are not or even cannot be aware of. This is where semiotic artifacts - such as texts - take on a life of their own. Besides the intended radius of communication there is also an unintended radius of communication; i.e. not only a group of people for whom I virtually write, but a group of people who actually read it. I'm not yet sure how to tie this in with other phatic theories.
Ekman (like the psychic, we might note) focuses on the qualia of an organ that does its own sensing and reacting - the eyes. The acting students working with the thread do something similar, except that in the case of the thread, sensing and reacting has been extended from the body, proprioception (as Oliver Sacks has also taught us), extends through the medium, the thread, and back again. A related effect is that the qualia at either extreme (limpness - tightness), which seem to indicate a failure to maintain contact, also do more. Besides betraying a gap in communication, through contradiction, the extremes themselves are put into lively play, a play with the audiences' attention and with the actors' meta-attention to that of their audiences. This play with attention, ideally, produces a new level of relation. (Lemon 2013: 80-81)
I have a feeling that this author has a penchant for nifty formulations that do little to elaborate our knowledge. Like "meta-social commentary" this "meta-attention" here feels like a throwaway that could have been elaborated much further. This is a frequent occurrence with feminine writers (I have yet to forgive one feminist author for betraying my hopes with the term "body-signs").
To be sure, the thread etude may join pairs, but each pair is positioned as but one vector of attention intersecting several others - including those who watch them watch. (Lemon 2013: 81)
Yup, I am lost.
These circles of attention spin simultaneously, a moving mobile, each differently aware of others' awareness, like a model of subatomic electrons and particles. (Lemon 2013: 81)
You can move things from one area to another. You can feel your body. You can say I'd like to go over to this location. You can move this mass of molecules through the air over to another location at will. That's something you live inside of every day.

Harkness, Nicholas 2015. The Pragmatics of Qualia in Practice. Annual Review of Anthropology 44: 573-589.

This review proceeds on the following points: (a) All sociocultural practice is fundamentall semiotic, constituted by sign processes; (b) specifically indexical modes of sign processes constitute the domain of pragmatics; (c) qualia are indexes that materialize phenomenally as sensuous qualities; and (d) qualia provide a methodological link between general anthropological understanding of practice and a technical semiotic approach to pragmatics. Let me explain each of these points in turn. (Harkness 2015: 574)
Right off the bat I can agree only with the first proposition. The second does not seem absolute - why do indexes constitute the domain of pragmatics and not symbols or icons? On that note, qualia seem more iconic than indexical. And the fourth is truly beyond me.
Indexical semiotic processes - presuming on prior contexts and causes, entailing new contexts and consequences - draw attention to the focal entities of action, outline connections among the internally organized elements of action, and point outward to the contextualization of action, such that "anything people do" (Ortner 1984: 149) becomes "a" practice, a "kind of" practice, "this" practice, and so on. (Harkness 2015: 574)
All this hinges on Secondness: reaction, resistance, (dyadic) relation; brute facts, actuality; singularity, discreetness, "this"; reference to a correlate (by its relata); and essentially dyadic (the relate and the correlate). Again, all forms of semiosis presume prior contexts and entail new contexts. And they are not so much about action as about reaction.
The pragmatic process of typifying anything people do as practice is an integral and inescapable meta-pragmatic orientation to human activity. And as Rupert Stasch (2014: 631) put it recently in a discussion of the methodological perils of reifying "practice" in anthropology, "having to imagine 'pragmatics' distinct from 'semiosis' would be like trying to imagine the part of snow that isn't water." This insight applies not only to the internal organization of types of practice, but also to processes by which human attention that is reflexively focused on its own activity facilitates the emergence, maintenance, or transformation of social groups; sustains or confronts implicit presuppositions and explicit beliefs; and draws attention to the wider significance and consequences of what we do. (Harkness 2015: 574)
Cf. habits of meta-social commentary, above. The reflexivity oriented towards sociability I would term meta-phatics.
I use the term "qualia" (singular, quale) to refer to indexes that materialize phenomenally in human activity as sign vehicles reflexively taken to be sensuous instances of abstract qualities (stink, warmth, hardness, straightness, etc.). If "anything which focuses the attention is an index" (Peirce 1932, section 2.285), qualia focus attention (in various modalities) on the pragmatic "feeling of doing." Qualia emerge as points of orientation in social action and shape how such cation is apperceived as a kind of practice conforming to material affordances and limits; in this way practice can be linked to groups and become productive of certain kinds of knowledge of "the way things are." (Harkness 2015: 574)
So "quality of feeling" becomes, in the pragmatic spectre, "feeling of doing"?
In the wake of such a dramatic dampening of the semantico-referentialist ideology of language, indexicality replaces denotation as the more encompassing dimension of social action carried out through spoken and inscribed language. (Harkness 2015: 575)
Among Ilongot who had converted to Christianity, eschewing "curvy" speech with words "soft and sweet as ripened fruit" in favor of "straight" speech, with its potential to produce "words like arrows," as a way of indexically displaying "new knowledge" (Rosaldo 1984). (Harkness 2015: 576)
I recall Charles Morris and the case of throwing putty vs shooting arrows. Likewise, in E. R. Clay's treatment his own "noiseless definitions" are contrasted to putatively noisy approximations.
In these ethnographic examples, qualia emerges as consequential to communicative practice by providing aesthetic and moral anchors of orientation for reflexive, group-defining conduct and thus for the situated enactment of forms of personhood. (Harkness 2015: 576)
Much like, in phatic terms, Finns and Estonians pride themselves in being restrained and abstaining from small talk.
I now turn to qualia in phatic practice, following Jakobson (and, distantly, Malinowski) in referring to pragmatic activity oriented to establishing, maintaining, or transforming social connections (physical or psychological) among people. Just as there are culturally stipulated kinds of persons, there are culturally stipulated kinds of relations among kinds of persons as well as normative qualities that people associate with these relations and in terms of which label them. The qualities of the relationships themselves come to consciousness via such labeling. Furthermore, there are ways of enacting these relational qualities through genred forms of communicative practice, both linguistic and nonlinguistic. (Harkness 2015: 577)
For culturally stipulated kinds of persons there is personology. For culturally stipulated kinds of relations I do not know a metacategory.
Rupert Stasch's (2009) ethnography of the Korowai in Papua New Guinea works through the semiotic intricacies of what he refers to as an "indigenous pragmatics of social bonds" (2009: 14), showing how social attachment and avoidance, and familiarity and strangeness, are established by actively managing the qualia of the tactile, the visual, the edible, and the verbal as media for kinship, friendship, and other relations. Focusing on the quality of otherness or alterity as it emerges and is managed in practical acts of sociality, Stasch (2009: 174) argues that a "sensibility about social relations [...] is thus also a sensibility about qualities of action and their relation-defining effects." (Harkness 2015: 577)
This author seems to miss the relevant point that while there are many kinds of communion, only ones emerging through the verbal medium is "phatic" (at least in the strict sense). "The breaking of the bread," as Malinowski put it, although a form of communion, surpasses phatic communion.
Nozawa (2015) develops similar themes of otherness and distance, sameness and closeness, in his analysis of what he calls a "fantasy of the phatic" in urban Tokyo, where "solitude and indifference [are not] a new problem simply awaiting a solution, [rather] they are in fact productive of a fantasy of sociality" (2015: 377). Beginning with sensational news reports regarding elderly people (usually men) dying alone, unnoticed, among their own family, Nozawa contrasts mu-en (no relation), en-giri (disconnection0, and "an anxious feeling of precarity that was always widely shared in various dimensions of Japanese society, across generational boundaries" (2015: 380) with "idioms such as fureai, 'touch-together,' tsunagari, 'connecting,' and more recently in the aftermath of the 2011 triple disaster, kizuna, 'bonding'" (2015: 383). In the phatic fantasy that Nozawa describes, "contact" serves as a trope for communication: "The implicit ideology of communication here - what might be called phatic-indexicalism - stipulates that relationality is, first and foremost, about making contact through indexical triggering (whatever else may also be accomplished)" (2015: 386). The work of keeping the "infrastructure of indexicality" accessible, Nozawa notes, involves engaging in and evaluating communicative practice in terms of qualia: "skillful communicators facilitate the smooth circulation of the 'air' of conversation within an interactional space, as by an air conditioner" (2015: 386). Qualia in practices organized explicitly around establishing and transforming social relations give sensuous form to cultural conceptualizations of the more abstract qualities that can precipitate affective states from phatic sensibilities. (Harkness 2015: 577)
Wat. It looks a lot like Nozawa and Harkness are attempting to arrive at Ruesch's "social techniques" by a roundabout way.
Qualia in explicitly relational, phatic practice have emerged as a central concern in recent ethnographic research at vastly different scales, from the multimodal management of feeling of proximity in relation to notions of hierarchy and symmetry within a Badaga peasant community in South India (Heideman 2013), to the role of "density as a relational and social quality produced by identifiable associations, practices, and systems of human interactions" in Mumbai (Rao 2007: 227), or, in a locomotory reprise of Anderson's (2006[1983]: 145) notion of interdiscursive unisonance and its ritual effects, to gesture's place in "the embodied practices through which that feeling of 'us' and community was generated and replenished over the centuries, and which creates a sense of intimacy on the streets of a city of millions [Cairo]" (Elyachar 2011: 94). (Harkness 2015: 577)
I get that this is exactly what phatics is about but I can't get through the flowery language. Also, I'm glad to see Julia Elyachar in this discussion.
In this regard, feelings experienced along such dimensions as hot-to-cold appear to be seemingly ubiquitous qualitative categories for organizing the qualia of social relations: for example, angry hearts that "spark" like fire among the Ilongot in relation to headhunting practices (Rosaldo 1980: 40), the "chill" or "warmth" of Soviet-era social relations and the role of "phatic experts" in managing such relations (Lemon 2013; other phatic qualia include "lustrous" and "dull," "taut" and "lax"), and the "heat" and "fire" of Christian revival activity in relation to gendered practices and social relations among Guhu-Samane Christians in Papua New Guinea (Handman 2014). (Harkness 2015: 578)
So that's why phaticity and qualia are related in this paper as well. Too bad, because Lemon's understanding of "phatic" is way too general to be applicable. By "phatic experts" she could just as well write "communication experts".
In everyday bodily practices, we find not just a body in motion, but also a body that moves in relation to the qualia of encounters with entities, a "world perceived through the feet" (Ingold 2011: 33). (Harkness 2015: 580)
Recording this because I sometimes have trouble recalling the source for that snippet about extension in walking. From Ingold's Being Alive.

Berardo, Cetta 2014. Contributions to a Theory of Communication: Berne, Cybernetics, and Linguistic Structuralism. Transactional Analysis Journal 44(3): 218-225.

Berne, on the other hand, considered the quality of the message and the energy and displacement of stores of energy from the transmitter to the receiver. The second concept was the hidden message. Shannon (1949) considered cryptography to be a mathematical science capable of encrypting data in order to make them not understandable to intrusive eyes. For Berne, the hidden message becomes a useful, if not vital, part of the communication by virtue of the receiver's ability to understand what is hidden. (Berardo 2014: 219)
How is this different from implicature in pragmatics or implicit communication in Mehrabian's sense?
According to common understanding, noise is a sound phenomenon that is mainly disagreeable or undesirable, one that includes a disturbance of the message and prevents its reception in its original form. Thus it is an element that decreases the amount of information available from the sound. Information, from the Latin in plus forma, has many meanings, including "shaping according to a given form" in the sense of "modeling." In linguistic terms, it indicates the syntactic composition of a message, including the concepts of intention, end, and purpose. Wiener (1948b) added that "once a message has been formed, a subsequent operation on it may deprive it of some of its information, but can never augment it" (p. 217). (Berardo 2014: 220)
In a behaviouristic sense information gives behaviour consequent to a message a definite form. In this sense information amounts to instruction. One could probably take the latter term also apart as in and structure.
Berne (1953) inverted the statement and defined noise as "'a disturbing or discordant sound.' It is an emotional word. To say, 'I hear a noise!' still means to most people, 'I am disturbed.' To say, 'I have information!' means, 'I know something'" (p. 186). It is an emotional word that contains an implicit message of "what I don't want to hear," whereas information is "what I do want to hear" (p. 187) and becomes "psychological information" (p. 189). The transmitter shapes the message, giving to it a meaning that is both evident and implicit, and the receiver assumes an active role that is fundamental for augmenting and not reducing the value and meaning of the message. (Berardo 2014: 220)
Consider Bourdieu's statement that people learn information in order to later ignore information. (This ties in with the concept of habitus.) Reformulated in these terms, people learn first what they want to hear, and consequently dismiss whatever they don't want to hear as noise. What is exformation?
If we analyze the two communication poles, it can be argued that from the transmitter's point of view, information is what the person wishes and intends to communicate. It is the conscious and aware part that contains two factors: desirability and intentionality. Noise, on the other hand, is what the transmitter unintentionally communicates without wishing or intending to, that is, the unconscious and unaware part. From the receiver's perspective, information is what the person openly wishes and wants to receive, whereas noise is what the person unintentionally receives, without wishing or intending to receive it (i.e., the latent message). Intentionality and desirability involve both the transmitter and receiver of the communication. Intentionality includes the direction of the mind "with its common dictionary implication of conscious design, determination, and direction" (Berne, 1953, p. 192). (Berardo 2014: 221)
In this sense the contemporary focus on microaggressions and implicit messages is really a focus on noise.
In Berne's article, there are, in my opinion, five key factors that are important in moving from the communicative context to the communicative relationship. By relationship, I mean a bidirectional relationship based on knowledge (historical and social diagnosis) and psychological information, one that flows through contact and empathy and is consolidated through a move from unawareness to awareness.
  1. The amount of potential psychological information does not decrease but grows with the growth in intensity of (intrinsic) noise.
  2. Nonverbal, nonintentional, ambiguous, informal, irrational communications are more important than verbal, intentional, precise, formal, and rational ones.
  3. The idea of a precise message in psychologically inconceivable for interpersonal communication.
  4. The value of a communication is not established by the transmitter but by the receiver.
  5. To increase information, it is important to take into account the rhythms and conditions of the transmitter.
When faced with a message, the receiver is interested not only in the message but also in the status of the transmitter. In Berne's analysis, there is a double meaning: (1) the context of the relationship and the set of objective elements and factors (i.e., channel, code, sound of words) and (2) the context in the relationship and the set of subjective elements and factors (the noise added to the information) that has an impact on the reception of the message. These are the extra elements that take up a key role: from extras (a theatrical metaphor used by Berne) to second leads from time to time and in the process of communication. (Berardo 2014: 222)
A more pointed move from communicative context to the communicative relationship would imply interest not in the status of the transmitter but in the status of the relationship (the psychological connection).
Berne provided some interesting ideas or hints to the scientific community of his time, mainly in the field of linguistics and communication psychology. In my opinion, his innovative reflections included the following:
  • Identifying the complex intertwining of content nad relationships
  • Recognizing that there is no content outside of relationship, that when we communicate we do not transfer messages alone, that there is no message outside the living body of a relationship
  • Understanding that communication is a process of constant enrichment, even when it seems that there is a loss in the transfer from one person to the other (just like the loss of signal in the transfer of data), that in each transfer there is a risk of misunderstanding, but it is this very interplay that allows for the creation of new meaning
  • Showing that any message (or transaction) is always a statement of the self as subject that searches for validation from another
I communicate something to you (about myself); you answer me according to your way of being. (Berardo 2014: 222-223)
All I can say at this point is that it's indeed quite reminiscent of Ruesch and Bateson's "communication system" (interaction) approach.
A few years after Berne's 1953 essay, Jakobson reflected on the concept of functions that he then introduced to the scientific community in two essays: "Closing Statements: Linguistics and Poetics" (1958) and "Structure of Language and Its Mathematical Aspects" (1961). (Berardo 2014: 223)
Pff. Jakobson reflected on the concept of functions with Mukarovsky in the early 1930s.
Although he did not cite Berne directly and we do not know if he was familiar with Berne's work, we can see how Berne's communicative relationship predated Jakobson's development of his theory of the six functions of language. By function Jakobson meant a contact (or channel) that is a physical and psychological connection between transmitter and receiver that allows them to establish communication and keep it going. Like Berne, he understood the importance of linguistic interaction, and for this reason, he created the phatic function, which is associated with the contact factor, that is, the connection between transmitter and receiver. The phatic function is language for the sake of interaction. (Berardo 2014: 223)
I've never seen anyone get "function" so wrong. (Though I've seen someone take a deeply philosophical approach to "set" it his phrase "This set for CONTACT".) By "function" Jakobson means what a particular feature of language does. Expressive features, for example, suggest the emotional attitude of the speaker. That is the the emotive "function" of expressive features, such as affective accentual variants, lengthened consonants, intonation, etc. By the phatic function Jakobson really means that there are types of speech signs which have no other discernable function than to continue communication. Rather than saying "The phatic function is language for the sake of interaction" we should say that "Language in the phatic function of speech is used in order to establish, maintain or discontinue interaction".
If, for Jakobson, messages contained ambiguities for the receiver, even when there is no chance of the transmitter being ambiguous, for Berne ambiguity was the additional message that enriches communication touches both transmitter and receiver. The message thus becomes a large container in which emotions and thoughts have equal dignity, where the "colors" of the transmitter and the receiver find a place, and where the role of the receiver becomes fundamental. (Berardo 2014: 223-224)
It is beginning to look as if this author has not read Jakobson, or has not read him very thoroughly. The hierarchy of linguistic functions stipulates that every message has a dominant function as well as subordinate functions.
I have highlighted how the concepts Berne developed of further message and channel were also used by Jakobson in his theory of communication and how Jakobson used similar ideas to move from the communication context to interpersonal relationship to build the theory of the functions of the message. (Berardo 2014: 224)
This is pure conjecture. There is no sign that Jakobson used Berne's work. Although he did brag that he read everything in communication theory in the early 1950s, thus far - when it comes to phatics - I've only made out direct influences from Mowrer, likely Bateson, and maybe Abercrombie. He most definitely did not use and did not need to use Berne for his theory of functions, which has a much longer history in semiotics beginning at least with Ogden & Richards in the 1910s (published in the 1920s).


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