Home > Jurgen Ruesch, kommunikatsioon, semiootika, sotsiaal > Jurgen Ruesch “The Social Control of Symbolic Systems”

Jurgen Ruesch “The Social Control of Symbolic Systems”

Ruesch, Jurgen 1972. The Social Control of Symbolic Systems. – Ruesch, Jurgen. Semiotic Approaches to Human Relations. The Hague, Paris: Mouton: 277-300

The term „signal“ refers to an impulse in transit and indicates a sender’s deliberate or intentional effort to communicate, regardless of whether the signal be a nervous impulse, and electric current, a vocal sound, or a smoke signal. The term „sign“, in turn, refers to a human percept that has informative or problem-solving properties, irrespective of whether the sign is a poster, a woman’s hairdo, or pebbles in a brook. A sign does not imply an intentional effort at communicating […] Therefore the word „signal“ implicitly refers to an acitivity of the sender and the term „sign“ refers to a perception of the receiver. A „symbol“, finally, is defined by J.R. Pierce as „a letter, digit, or one of a group of agreed upon marks.“ Usually such symbols are found in company with other symbols to combine into sets generally referred to as codes. (277)

[…] the term „symbolic system“ refers to signs, symbols, or marks that stand for other events, whereby the shape and appearance of the symbols, their mutual interrelationship, and their referential properties are formally and informally controlled. (278)

The study of human behavior, therefore, always involves a twofold observation of intentional and inadvertent bodily action on the one hand and of purposeful vocal behavior on the other. (280)

The choice of action and the choice of symbol are determined by the social system in which events take place. (280-281)

Any action (vocal sound, gesture, bodily movement) is a signal that triggers in self and in others a twofold reaction – a physical and a symbolic one. (281)

For purposesof establishing public relations, words are selected according to these general characteristics, whereby denotation is minimized and connotation becomes the guiding principle. The former prerogative of the poet to disregard truth and to play with words on the emotions of the listener has now become an accepted technical and political tool. (285)

The former secretiveness and deliberate withholding of education from the population at large is today paralleled by a selection system governed by natural limitations of intelligence and aptitude. Only a small percentage of the population is equipped to program, operate, and control auxiliary brains, automata, and robots, and only about 25 per cent of the population – those with an IQ of 110 or above – can truly make use of and particiapate in the technological civilization. (295 – kahtlane, kahtlane)

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