In general each cycle in Session I followed the narrative programming I have described. Mrs. V would take the position of explaining and begin the narrative. Marge would use the supplementary narrator’s role in the position of passive protesting. Whitaker and Malone would take the position of listening and questioning.
But five full cycles and a like number of partial cycles appeared. Then at twenty-three minutes a second phase of the session appeared. These divisions of the session were diagrammed earlier in Figure 6-1.
The successive repetitions of the cycle were similar in structure, but by no means identical. Certain dimensions of behavior showed progressive change or escalation from cycle to cycle. Thus the total transaction had phases and an agenda, so there was at least one level of behavioral integration higher than the position and the cycle.
The three following interdependent developments were especially noteworthy and will be described in this chapter:
An Accural of Information
A Progressive Development of the Marge-Whitaker Relationship
A shift in the parts and relations of the session.
THE ACCRUAL OF INFORMATION IN THE SUCCESSIVE CYCLES
Although the women kept repeating the same basic positions, each recurrence brought further elucidation of the two main subthemes of the narrative — the history of Marge's illness and the early history of the V family. These are, of course, typical topics in a psychotherapy session.
Thus the positional configurations kept repeating, but the content progressively changed. Consequently information accrued, which is also typical in a narrative conversation such as psychotherapy.
The Initial Topic: Marge's Psychotic Episode
The story of Marge's illness was a primary topic. Malone explicitly and repeatedly asked Mrs. V about the subject and Mrs. V spoke of the issue in three of the cycles. In the first Period 1, you will recall that Mrs. V spoke of Marge's helplessness.
In the third Period 1 Mrs. V began at a chronologically earlier place and added an account of the events that preceded the request to be helped upstairs. Mrs. V said, ‘She came home for lunch and she . . . she often did. She says, ‘Mother, I feel sick.’ 'Oh' I says, 'take a cup of tea. ‘No, Mother, you don't understand, I'm really sick.’ 'Oh' I says. I don’t wanna have it on my soul, so I called the doctor and he gave her a prescription. And, then, uh, 'Gimme a glass of water. Hold me up, Mother, to drink it. Help me upstairs ta . . . ‘Oh, an eighteenyear-old girl. I got nervous. Is she . . . was she that sick? Thenext day she ...'
In the next Period 1, Mrs. V started at the place marked by the phrase,1 the next day she,’ and continued the narrative of Marge's psychotic break with a next episode: ‘She . . . The next thing I thought she was gettin' better, then she starts to vomit . . . . ‘
Then Mrs. V told of Marge’s vomiting, calling in the relatives, leaving her to go to mass, calling in a priest, sending her to her aunt’s house, and eventually to the hospital. The reader can follow the account beginning at twelve minutes in the transcript in Appendix A.
The Second Topic: Earlier Episodes in the V Family History
Marge'and Whitaker pushed Mrs. V to talk about other episodes in Marge's childhood. Marge would insinuate that a significant experience was being ignored, then she or Whitaker would question Mrs. V about it. In this way a number of episodes from Marge's childhood were aired.
In cycle A Marge hinted she was mad at her mother. Mrs. V dismissed this comment by saying everyone gets mad. Marge backed down and in fact blamed men for ‘watching her get angry at her mother״ ‘
In cycle В Marge claimed that her mother had laughed when the father died. Mrs. V vigorously denied this charge and Marge backed down. Mrs. V did admit she had not missed her husband at first.
In cycle С Marge made a series of accusations, each of which Mrs. V denied. She at first denied talking about her hallucinations to Marge. She denied that Marge was psychotic. She denied neglecting her son. She denied that her husband was nervous and that there had been a problem between Marge and the father. She denied ever committing a mortal sin and insisted that her husband, not she, was the boss of the family.
In cycle D Mrs. V again denied memory of an incident that Marge considered important — a scene in which Marge recalled seeing her parents struggling on the bed.
In cycle E Marge held that Mrs. V had attacked her husband with a knife and the neighbors called the police. Mrs. V reluctantly admitted that part of the story was true.
Directly Observable Information About the Women
Since the men were able, of course, to observe the women' s behavior, they obtained information beyond that which the women revealed in their language. As I will describe later such observation was one of the explicit purposes in Session I, and they told us later that they moved in at 2 3 minutes because they had collected sufficient ideas about the women to act on these and impinge on the pattern.
We cannot assume that nothing is happening in a transaction simply because the same basic positions and relations keep recurring. Each of the formats of Session I were used in the service of progressively developing plans. So the format for behavior in a transaction is not a rigid, stereotyped imposition, but a guideline for a type of activity. A format may be altered and used in a variety of ways.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE MARGE-WHITAKER RELATIONSHIP
Although the Marge-Whitaker alliance dissolved and reformed in every cycle, it showed a progressive development. At each recurrence it was more overt, more stable, more quickly enjoined, and more aggressive in its confrontation of Mrs. V.
The Structure of Each Recurrence
Consider once again the pattern of address in each recurrence. At the beginning of a Period 2 (or whenever Marge attempted to initiate one), Marge and Whitaker would briefly face each other. Then, Marge would turn to confront her mother. After the confrontation Marge and Whitaker would break off their alliance and Marge would return to sitting with her mother in passive protesting.
This sequence could be diagrammed as follows:
It was as though Marge had to turn to Whitaker to form a relationship, which she would then use as a supportive alliance in contending with her mother. In later sessions she used the alliance with Whitaker as a base for flirting with Malone and talking about sex with him.
The Pattern of Escalation
Marge kept returning to sitting with her mother, but each time the phase of active confrontation lasted longer. And each time she was more aggressive in her insinuations and challenges. She and Whitaker also came to be closer and closer in interpersonal distance as Whitaker moved in toward her. And Whitaker took more and more an overt role in supporting Marge's chailenges.
Decreasing Interpersonal Distance
In any small group there are conventional spacing arrangements. There are relatively standard distances between the participants, depending on their relationships and dominance and what they are doing.’since the distances are standard within a culture, but vary with social class and ethnic background, they communicate to others something of the character of the transaction and instruct the participants about the propriety and expectations of the situations. A man and a woman, for example, will use one distance in an intimate interchange, another in a personal conversation, and a third in a formal meeting (Hall 1963, 1966).
In early Period I’s the interpersonal distances were as follows: Mrs. V and Marge sat together on a sofa, close enough that their bodies were touching, a distance more usual for a mother and small daughter in the presence of company. The men began the session at such a distance that their faces were about six feet from the women’s faces, a usual distance for nonintimate conversation and for the initial stages of family psychotherapy.
At each cycle Marge moved farther from her mother and closer to Whitaker. In later Period 2s Marge was about four feet from her mother, a marked distance for a side-by-side pair. The same moving away brought her closer each time to Whitaker. In later Period 2s she was less than three feet from him. Whitaker also moved. At each six-minute interval he moved forward in his chair until he came to be closer than three feet from Marge. Thus in successive Period Is, even though the girl went back to huddling against her mother, she was increasingly closer to Whitaker.
Thus, moving together occurred in such stages that some parameter of greater closeness was introduced periodically, adapted to, then further increased. The four stages of Whitaker's approximation are depicted in the sequence of drawings in Figure 7-1.
The net result of these moves was the establishment of a usual rapport distance between Marge and Whitaker (see Chapter 11).
This process is ordinarily accomplished in gradual stages and the maneuvers in the series remind one of a dance. The therapist may move in, whereupon the patient may lean back and away. The therapist withdraws, but later moves forward again. In the Whitaker-Marge series Whitaker did not retract his moves. Marge would move back, but gradually come forward to meet his new distance. When she apparently had adapted to that distance, Whitaker would move again.
Although this kind of sequence is typical in psychotherapy (see Chapter 11), it is seen in other types of conversation when people are getting acquainted or when they become progressively involved in an interesting topic, a flirtation, or an argument.
Marge became more and more direct in her accusations and so did Whitaker. In cycle B, Marge accused her mother of laughing when father died. She conceded rather quickly with ‘Didn’t you sort oflaugh?’ But she also accused her mother of being mentally ill. In cycle C, Marge opening ly argued with Mrs. V. She took her mother’s arm, looked directly at her, and insisted that Mrs. V was afraid of Marge's father, even though Mrs. V denied this vigorously. In cycle D, Marge also directly disagreed with her mother, and she bluntly told Whitaker that it was not true that her mother had never been sick. Whitaker also made a blunt challenge to Mrs. V in cycle D, asking if she had had a psychotic breakdown and pressing her on the subject. In cycle E, Marge stated flatly that she thought her mother was crazy. Whitaker pursued this theme.
The Increasingly Overt Quasi-Courting and Tactile Reciprocals . Marge also was more and more overt in her courtship-like behavior to Whitaker. And at 12 and 24 minutes tactile contacting occurred.
THE PHASE II SHIFT
At 23 minutes Whitaker took the floor and explained the purposes and plans of the session. Then he took a relatively less active role. Malone moved in at 24 minutes and stayed forward. He started an explanation but ended in active interaction with Marge. Mrs. V sat back and began to take a more passive part.
At 29 minutes Whitaker moved back to his initial position and no longer took an active part. At 31 minutes the men stood up and ended the session.
I interpret these changes as follows: When the men had sufficiently involved Marge in rapport with Whitaker and gained enough information about the family, they changed their tactics. Whitaker explained the sessions and, in the process, dismissed Mrs. V from further participation. Malone stopped intervening and allowed Marge to keep the floor. He then shifted to relating directly to her. Mrs. V became the supplementary narrator. These dimensions of the structure are described in detail in Section E.
THE CONTEXTS OF SESSION I
In the Preface I described the background in which Session I occurred. In doing so, of course, I indicated some dimensions of the context in which this transaction was located. Now I want to review these, for the basic principle of context analysis is that the larger behavioral integrations (contexts) determine the meaning of and govern the events at lower levels.
We can visualize certain aspects of the immediate context by direct observation. The others we must infer. Having studied many psychotherapy sessions, I can achieve some comparative assessments of the usual structure of this event, but we have nothing more than educated guesses about the larger contexts of these participant's lives.
The Immediate Contexts of Session I
The Visible Indications of the Immediate Context
There are customary sites for standard transactions which have evolved in a culture: theatres, workshops, kitchens, living rooms, and the like. Such sites have evolved together with the transactions which are to occur there, and with the appropriate props, tools, furniture, controlled lighting and temperature, and so forth.
Conditions conducive for conversation are ordinarily provided by a room such as a living room or consulting room. Here walls and doors minimize noise and interruption by outsiders. Temperature control and lighting provide reasonable comfort and visibility. And furniture is placed for appropriate distancing and orientation. Optimal conditions exist when physical comfort allows sufficient freedom for people to attend to each other’s behavior and the arrangements allow them to see and hear each other.
Just as the participants can observe these elements of the physical ecology and get an idea about what is supposed to take place, so can the research observer.
Session I was held in the living room of a house that had been specially prepared to accommodate psychiatric patients and that still had the character of a dwelling (Scheflen i960). The room was relatively quiet. A sofa replaced the usual chairs characteristic of group and family therapy. The furniture was placed so that the participants were close enough to hear, see, and touch each other easily. The temperature was comfortable, though the lighting was brighter than usual for a conversation.
For a given kind of transaction certain types of people will convene. The participants and observers as well are instructed about what is to happen by recognizing the character and the social roles of the others present.
In psychotherapy, of course, one (or more) of the participants has a problem and the social role of patient or client. One (or more) of the participants is to do something about that problem, and has the social role of psychotherapist.
In Session I Marge was a legally committed psychiatric patient, hospitalized at a nearby mental hospital with the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Mrs. V was later hospitalized as a patient in the same hospital with the same diagnosis. Marge lived in the experimental unit where the sessions took place for the two weeks of study. Mrs. V lived at home.
Sometimes the transactional type is governed by the occasion. For example, particular transactions occur on Yom Kippur or Christmas, or on Sundays, or whenever certain crises or times of the year have arrived. Psychotherapy is held when a patient is adjudged in need of treatment or institutionalization and an appropriate group is convened for the procedure.
A participant who is experienced in common culture can usually guess what he is to do by observing these tangible contextual indications, but certain enforcing behaviors will appear if there is ambiguity. Here are a few which occurred in Session I:
1. Briefing. Before the session a member of the research staff explained the sessions in the course of obtaining a history and a permission for the filming. The sessions were also explained to Marge when she was admitted to the experimental treatment unit. The women were also told about the status and competence of the men.
2. Statements of Need and Purpose. The women often referred to their problem. We could say that they had a ‘felt need*. Whitaker explained what they were there to do.
3. The Presence of the Hosts. It is often conventional to accept the host’s definition of the situation. In Session I the researchers who had briefed Mrs. V and Marge remained at the scene. Also Marge had been admitted to the Temple treatment unit for the experimental sessions and the attending staff had instructed and groomed Marge for the occasion. The assistant remained upstairs during the session.
While the treatment room was decorated to resemble a private living room, the building was located in the immediate setting of Temple University Hospital. The surroundings, then, were clearly recognizable as a hospital compound and this ecology must have provided instructions for the procedure.
The host prerogatives were granted to Whitaker and Malone. In general these men espoused the same system of transaction as the psychiatrists who were host to Session I.
When Marge’s behavior deviated, the head of the research team cleared his throat and the others shifted around in their chairs. So Whitaker and Malone were not alone in enforcing the definition of the situation (English et al. 1966).
4. Monitors and Other Mechanisms of Enforcement. As I have already described, kinesic monitors, interruptions, and confrontations occurred when Mrs. V and Marge did not follow the program.
Wails and the placement of furniture not only minimize intrusión but they tend to keep the people together. Usually the site of a transaction is demarcated in visible physical ways, but the participants may also provide barriers by their posture. When standing, the members of a small group generally complete a circle or splay their feet to ‘point’ a boundary for the group (Goffman 1963) (see also Section B). When seated, the participants at the end of a row or semicircle tend to close the aperture by crossing their legs in such a way that the upper leg projects across the space or they place a leg on the furniture so that it blocks off the space and confines the group.
In later sessions when Mrs. V was not there and the men had established more intensive rapport with the girl, they placed their legs on a coffee table in such a way as to block off their activities from the observers and camera, thereby boxing in Marge.
Prohibitions may be placed on leaving. Participants may even be held in the grouping by force. In Session I no one tried to leave or seemed anxious to do so. Despite the fact that Marge often seemed to be dissociated from the others she seemed keenly alert to everything that had happened. (The other patient that Whitaker and Malone saw in Philadelphia did try to leave. They held him physically in his chair.)
The Invisibie Aspects of the Immediate Context
We could infer that there were cognitive dimensions of the immediate context that we could not see directly. Each person presumably had an image of what was to occur, a plan for managing his own behavior, and metasystem of values and beliefs about these matters.
We can gain some indications of these cognitive dimensions by observing what the people did in Session I. We can also make psychoanalytic inferences about their individual psychological makeup through three other conceptual routes.
1. Maneuvers, Tactics, and Suppressed Performances. We can observe what the participants tried to do and could not accomplish. We can note the paralinguistic and parakinesic maneuvers which they used. We can note also the abortive performances which they concealed or suppressed (see Chapter 8).
2. Paracommunicative Inference. By noting the communicative styles and the histories of the participants, we can identify their usual social roles, their institutional memberships, and their cultures of origins. If we know about the traditions of these subcultural categories we can predict the kinds of things they might do (see Chapter 10).
3. Metacommunicative Inference. If we study the metacommunicative comments of each participant and the behaviors of others which he monitors and avoids, we could develop a picture of the value systems and metaconceptions of each participant. We could cross-check these inferences against the usual value systems of the institutions, social classes, and ethnological backgrounds to which each person belongs.
Presumably these processes of inference which are characteristically carried out by psychological scientists are also carried out in everyday life by the participants in a transaction. And the inferences they achieve are one determinant in their behavioral communication (see Chapter 10).
Recognition of the Expected Formats
To an experienced member of common culture, all of these occurrences are recognizable and make clear what performance is expected. Although Mrs. V did not, we can guess, understand the details of the psychotherapy approach in general and the methods of Whitaker and Malone in particular, she did know about narrative formats and interviews. There are probably formats similar to these in any Western culture. And though Whitaker and Malone did not know the details of the women's plans, they were familiar with the general patterns of schizophrenic, motherdaughter relations, and with Sicilian culture. Also the men were briefed by the researchers about the women's history.
What happened in Session I then was roughly predictable. The general formats for narrative conversation were in main adhered to, but special variations were used according to individuai plan and certain procedures were necessary to bring the variations into line. These principles governed the integrations of performance in Session I.
The Less Immediate Contexts of Session I
Session I as One Session in a Series
In the first place Session I was but the first transaction in a programmed series. Relationships and historical information were thus established in Session I for use in later sessions. Longrange planning probably affected the plans of all the participants.
Arrangements for Residence
Provisions were made to house the participants. As I have already said Marge lived in the experimental unit. Mrs. V returned home after each session. The therapists returned each evening to their families who were staying in Philadelphia in order to maintain a simulation of their usual life-space arrangements.
The Maintenance of Other Affiliations
Ordinarily it is important that a given transaction maintain rather than disrupt the ordinary social organization. Participants have families and institutional memberships to which they return after the event. Marge had an ongoing relationship with Mrs. V that would persist beyond the sessions. It was important not to disrupt this relationship without due and considered cause. Marge also had a psychotherapist at the hospital where she ordinarily stayed, and this relationship was protected as much as possible by the researchers and the therapists.
In psychotherapy, however, the sessions may be intended to change or even break up the social relationships in which the patient ordinarily participates. This was the case in Session I (see Section E). Accordingly the group composition was changed as the course of sessions proceeded — Mrs. V was dismissed and did not appear after Session II.
It is not usual, however, that a given transaction results in ideas or plans which disrupt the social organization or change the basic structure of the culture. Session I produced a view of some innovative techniques for psychotherapy, but did not produce a result which totally changed the institution. The research, too, was hopefully innovative, but many of the traditions were preserved. And some of Marge’s and Mrs. V’s ideas were to be affected, but the transaction did not revolutionalize Catholicism or Sicilian culture.
So the principles of remote contexts, those of the society and the cultures involved, are, in the main, preserved, and these govern all of the events of the transaction level by level from its being held at all to the style of the smallest phoneme and gesture.
If we had enough data we could systematically reconstruct these larger contexts level by level as we did the shorter units which were captured on film. Then we could depict contexts as larger unit integrations, instead of describing physical objects and abstractions which represent these contexts.
COMMENT: TYPES OF COMMUNICATION.
HOW THEY ARE MAINTAINED AND ADAPTED
The term communication covers social level processes of the greatest range of complexity — from simple perceptions to the most complicated systems of transaction. Any given transaction can be a simple, routine enactment of a customary program or a very variable affair which takes a great deal of negotiation, improvisation, and adaptation to keep it in progress. I would like to comment on these dimensions of communication.
Pertinent Levels in Communication
Processes at multiple levels of organization are essential to the understanding of communication. At the social level processes of group assemblage and regulation must occur so that participants can see, hear, touch, and smell each other. Processes at social levels of organization higher than the small group are essential in understanding and explaining these events. At the organismic level the participants must behave in coded or patterned ways according to some tradition of behavioral integration. They must also approach and address each other. At still lower levels of systems organization, brain, cell, and molecule, certain processes occur to sustain and mediate this information processing.
Logical Types of Communication
It is worthwhile to distinguish four logical types of communication in ascending order of complexity:
1. The Simple Perception of a Coded Enactment. If someone behaves in a meaningful patterned way and someone else of a similar background sees or hears this performance, a simple form of communication can occur. It is not essential that the behavior be intended to communication or that the process be mutual. Thus someone may brush his teech, change a tire, or talk to himself, and thereby provide information about a state, event, and context.
2. The Joint Enactment of a Routine Program for Social Maintenance. In any culture there is a repertoire of customary programs for carrying out the tasks which are necessary (or are deemed necessary) to provide for the members and maintain the social organization. Whenever these need to be carried out, appropriate participants gather and enact a replication (or else the appropriate transaction is enacted in anticipation of such need. Thus babies are washed when they need it. Or people may feed and eat when they are hungry or at regular times in anticipation of hunger. Some such transactions are very complex. Thus food is planted by one program and harvested months later by another one.
In such performances the participants recognize their own performances and those of the others. They can thus adapt and regulate the processes. Social organizations hold people together for enacting programs but the enactment and its consequences also maintain the social organization. Any transaction, then, is an event at one level in a larger schedule of transactions which collectively maintain the society. Thus Birdwhistell (1967) has defined communication as a system of integrated behaviors which mediate and permit social relationships.
3. The Use of a Program for Educating and Correcting Participants. Members of a society have to replace themselves, so there are programs for training and initiating novitiates to take necessary parts. In some cases deviant performers are taken as:’t e and subjected to programs for discipline, rehabilitation, and punishment.
Psychotherapy seems to have evolved as one variant of such correctional procedures (G.A. P. Report 1969). The program for psychotherapy makes use of customary formats for conversation and narration and of those for developing relationships. It also makes use of medical formats for listening to symptoms and making a disposition and it uses medical metaconceptions. But in the psychoanalytic era particular specialized formats of metabehavior have evolved for altering the patient’s metaconceptions and for forming a particular kind of durable and influential relationship.
4. Programs for Producing Innovative Programs. Mead (1964) has suggested that new formats have to be evolved in a culture when no one remembers what is ordinarily done or when existing programs do not meet the contingencies of the situation. Miller, Galanter, and Pribram (i960) have described ‘plans for making plans.’
Whitaker and Malone had developed innovations of the psychotherapy format and wanted to allow others to learn these. The researchers were interested in finding out how psychotherару was done by psychotherapists who were presumably successful with schizophrenic patients. Thus Session I was a transaction in a program for evolving new programs.
The Maintenance of a Transaction
Any transaction, however complex, may be performed efficiently and coordinatively if the participants have learned the same program and have worked out their differences in the experience of former enactments. But the matter is often not so simple. Contingencies arise from outside, participants disagree, or they hold to other investments and refuse to accommodate to this performance. I would like to describe briefly how such a situation is recognized and what mechanisms are conventionally applied to deal with such an eventuality.
The Characteristics of a Well-Coordinated Performance
Among experienced performers a transaction may have the following characteristics. The actions of the participants are smoothly coordinated and the performances move on from one step in the format to the next. The group members are not usually awkward or hesitant, and they do not ordinarily give indication of being anxious, restless, or angry. They orient themselves to each other and do not endlessly search the room and each other’s faces for cues about how to proceed.
Signs of Disconsonance in a Performance
If, however, the participants do not perform their expected parts or coordinate them, characteristic signs of difficulty are observable. Progression in the performance comes to a stop. The participants may repeat their behavior or begin another action, only to abandon it for still another. Often certain steps of the sequence are repeated again and again until an expected behavior is contributed. I call this repetitiveness pattern looping. The steps A-B-C, for instance come off as expected; then the participants may start over. Or else С is repeated again and again instead of D occurring. Or B-C, B-C, B-C keep recurring. In Session I there was much oscillation which reflected the disagreement between the women and their competition for the floor.
In a dissonant performance there is characteristic individuai behavior. The participants look away from each other. They freeze and refuse to provide signals of comprehension or approbation. Then they glance at each other in a search for cues. They may show signs of boredom, restlessness, anxiety, or anger. They keep enacting monitors, like frowning, nose wiping, or lint picking. They may lexicate statements of disapproval or cirticism or question the procedure (Scheflen 1963). And they show hesitancy, uncertainty, and awkwardness in their behavior. These behaviors occurred in Session I and have already been described. Other examples will appear in the chapters to come.
In Session I the difficulties were intermediate in severity. The participants were from dissimilar backgrounds, but these fell within a broad category of traditional commonality. The session was carried on in English. The men seemed to be familiar with Italian American culture. And the women had lived in America for many years; Marge, in fact, had been raised here. The participants were similar in their understanding of psychotherapy and their expectations of the session. But, as I said, Marge had been a psychotherapy patient for six months and Mrs. V was acquainted with interviewing. Some difficulties in mutual comprehension were to be expected but there was a general basis for common understanding.
Mechanisms for Coordinating and Regulating a Conjoint Enactment
If the estrangements are gross, the group will break up or another transaction must be intercalated to change the ecology, work out the differences of opinion, service the sick or angry participants, or recruit and train others. Many transactions are of such a recalibrative type: psychotherapy, itself, is a prime example. On the other hand, if the participants have some degree of common knowledge about a progress of activity, they may be able to adjust their performances by simpler procedure of negotiation, mutual support, and mutual correction. Each of these kinds of metacommunicative activity occurred in Session I and they are characteristic of any conversational transaction.
I can mention these mechanisms briefly because they have already been described. My purpose here is to draw them together in a systematic account.
1. Negotiating a Common Program. Ordinarily the basic features of the transaction are constrained by custom and indicated by the context, but there are often details to work out: who will take a certain role, who will speak first, and so forth.
Without necessarily saying anything about his plans, a participant may run through an abbreviated performance or synopsis at the beginning of a transaction. He will preview the facial and postural patterns of the programs he will use later.
Birdwhistell (1969) believes that participants always preview. He claims that all of the major units which a person will later perform appear in token form in the first minute of a transaction. In Session I, for instance, all of the later programs of the session appeared in abbreviated form in the first minute. Mrs. V characterized Marge’s illness. Marge briefly and hesitantly made facial and gestural commentary about this description and muttered inaudible comments. Whitaker invited Marge to speak up. Marge crossed her legs and made an abortive appeal which she quickly renounced. And Malone started to rock forward but did not complete his intervention. Then, all four participants settled back for a five-minute period of Mrs. V’s presentation.
There are traditional provisions for doing this. The early stages of a transaction often show a prephase (McBride 1966), a stage of arrangements, trials, and previews followed by negotiation and decision. A tentative definition of the situation may result, although readjustments and realignments may occur later.
We could describe the negotiation process as follows: At any given point one or more definitions of the situation are up for consideration (Goffman 1956). Any next performance may support the existing definition or challenge it. Each participant may react to this new definition, then attack, refute, ignore, support, and so forth. At each step any performance can be held to or recalibrated until some compromise or agreement is reached.
In fact customary programs have evolved for negotiation itself. Debates and policy meetings, for instance, have a format which arranges for presenting all sides of an issue. This kind of provision was used in Session I. The oscillation was an arrangement by which Mrs. V and Marge would take turns pleading their cases.
It must not be supposed that a participant dichotomizes another definition. Rarely does he accommodate or challenge in toto. He will support at one level and alter at another.
2. Support for a Proper Performance. If one participant enacts a format which the others consider proper or suitable, they can establish a favorable definition by supporting it. They will suppress the tendency to interrupt or metacommunicate critically. And they may exhibit this support by showing approval and postural parallelism. By the same token a participant can try to solicit support for his definition of the situation. He may command, flirt, promise, or whatever.
3. Cross-Monitoring the Performances. Finally, participants monitor each other’s performances to keep them in line and advanee the enactment.
Programs for Communication and Their Apparent Function
If a progressive relation in structured by convention and thereby prescribed in advance, we can say that the behavioral relation is programmed. I have described the characteristics of a transactional program elsewhere (Scheflen 1968). Some of these are:
1. There are formats at all levels for the parts an individuai can take. These are made up of units and common variants. They are marked by junctures and a transfix. Consequently we can say they are coded.
2. These units are addressed and held in relation in customary configurations of physical distance and mutual orientation.
3. ‘Proper’ performances are enforced by conventional metacommunicative signals (Scheflen 1963).
4. There are traditional agenda which often prescribe sequences of relationships and steps of conjoint performance toward a common goal and point of termination.
5. A repertoire of different kinds of programs are known in any culture, each one specific to particular kinds of contexts, to given kinds of relationships, types of occasions, types of institutions, and so on.
One can take a functionalist view of the matter — he can presume that the behavioral programs of a culture have evolved to adapt organisms to the ecosystem and, where possible, adapt ecosystems to the organism. Whenever the organism and his environment are out of dynamic equilibrium, the organism adapts itself by the use of an evolved system of changes that are structured as programs of behavior.
Man’s adaptation has depended on social organization. Accordingly the evolution of a system of adaptive behaviors and a system of recognizable and codified forms have occurred together. It is not that some separate system is adaptive and another communicative. The same systems of behavior that are adaptive are recognizable and communicative.
Evolution and Cultural Transmission
In lower animals the forms of behavior presumably are transmitted genetically. The adaptive relation of behavior to context may be learned soon after birth by imprinting (Lorenz 193 5; Klopfer 1962). In the case of man, varieties of form and patternment have evolved differentially in various cultures and have been transmitted from generation to generation by processes of learning, such as imitation. As a consequence, all members of a given culture have had the opportunity to acquire common forms.
On the other hand we can abstract the individuality of a participant on the basis of two successive criteria. He has learned a particular repertoire of parts and formats at many levels. And he plans and manages allowable variations in particular ways.
Consider again the operational complexities in portraying the synthesis of behavior in a transaction. At one and the same time the units at any level are arranged in a sequence according to a format, and related among the participants according to traditional configurations of address and relationship. So we could proceed along either of two pathways of synthesis, so long as we cover both of these and show their interrelations; i. e. , we could first reconstruct the sequencing of units through time, or first examine the structure of the relationships.
What I have done so far is to diagram the temporal sequencing in some detail. But I merely have described the relationships and abstracted their customary forms. To complete the synthesis of Session I, I must construct, diagram, and name units of relation level by level, place them in context, and so forth. I have not wanted to burden the reader with this much detail in the body of the narrative. But I will produce some of this data diagrammatically here in this Addendum for the reader with a special interest in communicational structure of the session.
ANALOGY TO AN ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE
There were so many performances and structural units in Session I that presenting them is virtually impossible unless the data is organized economically and articulated in familiar and digestible terms. It is helpful to us, until our own language of communication becomes more settled and familar, to borrow from analogous, better known communie at ional forms. The language of music is one that serves us well.
If we assume that the form of musical composition in general is analogous to the structure of American communication, particular variants of music (e.g. , a symphony, a concerto, etc.) can be seen as analogous to special communicative structures (e.g. , psychotherapy). Thus, a fugue for a string quartet is a fair analogy to psychotherapy in a group of four. Both the quartet and the psychotherapy structure are performed. In each case, the performance will show a style and set of pecularities of its own, but the performance will also follow a general form and pattern. The difference between the two structures is that musical composition has an explicit score that is written down and consciously learned and practiced. The *score’ for communication has not been written down, and, to some extent, has been learned out of awareness. But certain orchestral performanees, too, use a nonwritten score.
If we were to take a Bach fugue and construct a twofold table which illustrates its hierarchical structuring, the first column would contain the hierarchical integration of notes, measures, passages, and movements coded for each instrument. The sueceeding columns would show the various relations of instrumental parts at each level. The total orchestral integration would appear in the right hand column. Note that we can read the table in any direction. For example, we can switch at any level from examining a part to examining a relation of parts among instruments or among sections of the orchestra. And we can examine it by analysis or synthesis (see Figure C-l).
An analogous schema can be composed for the communicational structure of Session I, as I have done in Figure C-Z.
But we can simplify the schema by combining the columns for individual performances and the column for complementary performances, because these are interchangeable or substitutable. That is, the complementary relation carries out a single performance (Figure C-3). vis -Ö-vis
Accordingly, in the remainder of this Addendum, I will deal with the relations of complementary performances to each other and not with individual performances. Complementary performanees are related to each other reciprocally in this schema of communication.
RELATIONS AT THE LEVEL OF THE POINT
At the level of the point, five common complementary relations of point units regularly appeared. I will list these, then the reciprocal units of relation in which they occurred.
COMPLEMENTARY POINT PERFORMANCES
UNITS AT THE LEVEL OF THE POINT IN RECIPROCAL RELATION
These complementary performances, together with individuai performances, were integrated into isolatable units at the level of the point. Six types of lexical point units are diagrammed below. The nonlexical ones follow. Notice that the units are more highly organized than the complementary points in that each point or complementary pair of points has the vis-à-vis or reciprocal relation required for the completion of a unit.
The ‘lexical’ point units (those that had linguistic components) were:
RELATIONS AT THE LEVEL OF THE POSITION
Six complementary relations of positions occurred again and again in Session I. These were related in four main reciprocal units.
1. Pleading the case. The two women, in parallel positions, addressed the men. Mrs. V gave her narrative and Marge modified it with metamessages. This complementary performance corresponded to Period 1, as described in Chapter 4.
2. Interrogating. The men, in tandemic complementarity, listened and questioned the account.
3. Complementary contending. Whitaker and Marge formed a complementary alliance and challenged Mrs. V’s account. This complementarity and number 4 (following) correspond to Period 2, Chapter 4.
4. Complementary maintaining. It consisted of a complementary defense of the story by Malone and Mrs. V vis-à-vis Complementary Contending.
5. Fostered quasi-courting. It consisted of Whitaker’s or Malone’s (whichever reciprocated to her flirting) attending to Marge. The other man fostered it by noninterference. This activity occurred (kinesically) in periods of (lexical) contending and included the position number 7 (Hand Playing, Kleenex Displaying).
6. Fostered contacting. No monitoring or interference attended the contacting of Whitaker and Marge.
Reciprocal Relations of the Complementary Positions
The reciprocal relations of these complementarities might be diagrammed as follows:
Relations of the Total Performances
We can also construct crude depictions of the relations of total performances.
But we have now produced greatly oversimplified diagrams. I will try to clarify these complex relations in the following chapters.