Archive for the ‘Jurgen Ruesch’ Category

Jurgen Ruesch “Social Process”

December 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Ruesch, Jurgen 1972 . Social process. – Ruesch, Jurgen. Semiotic approaches to human relations. The Hague, Paris: Mouton: 21-46

[…] „social process“, can be studied through the observation of four sets of phenomena. The actual events – that is, those that stand for themselves – can be divided into: (1) behavior, or the functioning of whole organisms or machines and (2) field, or the environment or situational structure in which this behavior takes place. The symbolic events – those that stand for other events – can be divided into: (3) communication, or the symbolic functioning of whole organisms or machines and (4) organization, or the social order (context) in which communication takes place. (21)

The purpose of social organization is to: define group tasks; delineate boundaries in time and space (to each his own); establish priority systems (value systems); provide emergencies (protective services); make new rules (legislature); interpret the rules (judiciary); reinforce the rules (law enforcement); allot positions within the organization (civil service); make decisions (executive); initiate and implement group action (exploration of outer space); and regulate exchange with other groups (competition, cooperation). (25-26)

Inside a social organization the position that an individual holds defines his tasks, his rights, and his obligations. With it goes power, or the ability to make other people act in certain ways. (26)

The role that a person assumes is determined by what he thinks, feels, and does. Role is independent of position and does not wield power. A role is nothing but a typology of expressing the mutual relationship of people: father-son, leader-follower. Role is self-chosen, and the public may show respect for certain roles (hero) and, conversely, contempt for others. (26)

In the first instance, the action serves need satisfaction; in the second instance, it may be perceived by self or by others, and at that moment it becomes a message. Intention, therefore, which plays such a role in legal procedures, cannot be used in communication, because unintentional messages may have as much impact as intentional messages. (28)


The operational disciplines thus are distinguished from the basic sciences in that they are more familiar with the specifics than with the general, more apt to  seize on the exceptionn than on the rule, more likely to be confronted with breakdown than with smooth procedures. […] the operations expert is called in when long-term predictability fails. (30)

But order can only be understood, explaine, and implemented through use of the symbolic process which enables a person or a group to represent events that have already occurred or will occur at another time or place. (32/34)

With the influence of cybernetics and social and behavioral science, there seems to emerge at the present in the managerial disciplines a general theory of social process suitable for a variety of purposes. It is based upon three verifiable assumptions: (1) that information controls action; (2) that feed-back of the effects of action changes the informational state of the cell, organ, organism, or group; and (3) that this new informational state becomes the base for the next action. (34)

To acknowledge and to be acknowledged are satisfactory to the individual, proving that he is connected with others in spite of being separate or different from them. Agreeing implies the isolation of a certain aspect within the universe of discourse, and the establishment of corresponding views or opions between two or more peope with respect to that aspect. To reach an agreement is a most satisfying experience and a prerequisiste for action. With these three processes, people regulate their social encounters and the tensions that these encounters produce. (36) [under and over-organization tensions]

[…] informal communication serves adaptation, while programming and organization aim at better control. Programming of an individual’s life or of a group’s activities contains the following ingredients: allotment of proper space; allotment of proper time; regulation of energy household; allotment of proper funds; allotment of proper technical resources; and integration of space, time, energy, funds, and resources into a pattern of living. (38)

The rules of the small group have in some ways to be coordinated with the laws of society at large, and the roles held in a small group must be familiar to members of other groups. (38)

Underlying all of the approaches to the study of man is his ability to interact and relate to others – a faculty which has been described as „social process“. (39)


Jurgen Ruesch “The Social Control of Symbolic Systems”

December 13, 2011 Leave a comment

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)