Harre and P. F. Secord. We encountered the ideas on "ethogeny" mentioned in the previous section) for the first time only a while ago, when the book by Harre and Secord (1972) was brought to our attention, and hence, none of their ideas influenced the development of the daily round approach to the study of social psychology. On the one hand we no doubt could have profited from their account; on the other, it provides us with an unusual opportunity to contrast our current ideas with a system independently evolved and formulated. As well, our system of ideas we call "ethnosemantics" offers to Harre and Secord an unusual opportunity to compare with theirs, and hopefully, they too will see in us the correspondences we see in them, though that in itself would represent a most interesting piece of evidence for the social psychology of knowledge! Since we are sending them a copy of this Workbook it is possible we may hear from them, in which case we will report the outcome in a future edition.
The Correspondences in Basic Theory. There appears to be a good agreement between Harre and Secord (1972;1977), and James and Nahl (1975-77), on the following basic issues:
(i) that the work of Sociologists Goffman, Garfinkel, and Sacks on "ethnomethodology" is crucial in the identification of the weaknesses of the current experimental paradigm in social psychology;
(ii) that the recent modern work of the Oxford linguistic philosophers, known as "ordinary language philosophy," is crucial in pointing to more formal methods of analyzing the logic of people's behavior through the analysis of conventional language use (see Steinberg and James, 1971, for representatives of this approach);
(iii) that there exists a body of literature, past and current, that can be unified compatibly through a theoretical synthesis such as ethogeny or ethnosemantics, and that if such a theoretical effort succeeds in producing new sorts of data on the natural history of social life, then, said new approach will constitute a paradigm switch with all the extensive consequences to the community, as described for the natural sciences by philosopher of science Joseph Kuhn (19 );
(iv) that there is a basic wrong idea in the common experimentalistic conception of studying human behavior through data on Subjects, rather than on People, where "Subjects" are people acting like subjects in an experiemental set-up, while "People" are people;
(v) that a logical, as well as practical (hence, "pragmatic," we would say as American educators) method in the study of people, is to investigate the characteristics of records people produce, in their day-to-day activity or natural habitat --hence our emphasis on "The DRA (Daily Round Archives, see Chapter 3, Section [5.2.3], and this Chapter, Section [8.5]);
(vi) that a basic goal for a social psychology of community must be the scientific accounting of behavior as presentation, that is, through explanatory concepts that are relevant to behaving agencies (actual, wholistic) rather than behaving subjects (fragmentary, make-believe, abstract).
These six propositions are sufficient to delineate the correspondences in theoretical paradigm. We believe that none of the statements would be acceptable as essential by experimentalists, and most would be questioned by them as even making sense. These are the symptoms of paradigm clash as described by Kuhn (19 ) for physics and Chomsky (1964) for linguistics and cognitive psychology. We are gratified by these facts of agreement between ethogeny and ethnosemantics and are encouraged in our endeavors, realizing at this point, that we are part of a new and viable future, soon to be joined by other names when it will turn out that they have been around all along. Onwards, with the march of science!
Strategies of Investigation. Harres (1977) article in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology will no doubt cause a stirring in the field. At this point, we are studying it and the various directions it points to for doing empirical investigation. Thus, only a brief sketch will be found here.
Harre's empirical strategy appears to consist of two broad methods: the study and description of natural encounters between people, and the experimental employment of simulated behavior called role-enactments (the latter expression, also coined independently by us, see James and Nahl, 1978).
The description of natural encounters follows in the footsteps of Goffman's life work, and includes a number of articles and works by others which we have not, ourselves, studied. It is clear that this is a very active field in "Interactionist" Sociology, in "Cognitive" Anthropology, and in "Sociolinguistics."
The experimental employment of simulated behaviors, derives partially, from "garfinkeling" --a new term to us, and apparently, in use in the literature; it appears to mean the experimental dislocation of ordinary behavioral routines, such as going home and acting as if one were a boarder --to the consternation of your co-habitants (Garfinkel, 1967). Garfinkeling brings out, makes visible, the behavioral rules and expectations of participants in interaction. Under ordinary conditions, these rules are part of the "background context of the setting" and go unnoticed; the garfinkel makes these visible through the reaction s and commentaries of the other participants.
The investigation of the social rules of behavior constitutes the main empirical strategy of what is being called microsociology. Harre states that rules "preexist individuals"; he also holds that interactions follow rules, and further, that this connection is "spontaneous." It follows, then, that the study of rules of behavior is informative about the nature and character of spontaneous interactions. The major technique Harre proposes for the study of rules of behavior is that of account analysis.
The Analysis of Accounts. The theory of accounting currently being pursued in microsociology, ethnography, and applied psycholinguistics has a long and substantial history going back to the origins of organized knowledge in communities (e.g. the I Ching, ca. 3,000 B.C., and the subsequent emergence of traditions, legend, myth, metaphysics, and science). In modern times, philosophers Kant and Goethe have exercised definitive intellectual orientations. More recently, Sociologists Weber, Marx, and Shutz have been responsible for advances in phenomenological understanding. In this century, Dewey, Sapir, Wittgenstein, Austin, Ryle, Cassirer, Goffman, and Garfinkel are among the notable contributors to the analysis of accounts (see References for details). Currently in the literature, we find investigators and theory developers in Harre, Secord, Sacks, Schegloff, Cicourel, Gumperz, Hymes, James, Gordon, and many others (see References).
Central to the new paradigm of accounts --which, however, is not so new! --is the denial that accounts are "introspective causal explanation." Instead, it is asserted that accounting involves "the performance of two main tasks: the explication of action, and the justification of action" (Harre, 1977, p. 299).
The explication of action can be "explicit" or "implicit." Explicit explications are marked by an overt preparatory or set-up act or move by the person: e.g., "What I mean is "I don't mean to but and so on. Implicit explications mark the occurence, of actions, but their social functions as "acts" remain unsaid. Examples of both explicit and implicit explications in accounting can be found in annotated transcripts (see Chapter.9, Section [9.3.II.2.1], and in microdescriptions (see Chapter 8, Section [22.214.171.124]).
The justification of action involves either of two processes, "self-recategorization" and "act recategorization." Self-recategorization is a redescription of the person's relation to or role in a situation. For example, a common mode of providing justification for an act is the repudiation of Appearances such as "It was not my fault since I couldn't get hold of him." Here, the person recategorizes the self's role into two components: the "I" who provides the reinterpretation and the "me" who committed the act. Pronominal attributions always have socio-political implications as reflected in the contrast [my belongings] versus [your belongings] or [my mistake] versus [your mistake] (see, CHART R/8 in Chapter 7 for an experimental paradigm).
The second mode of justificatory accountings, act recategorization, also involves at least two types, according to Harre: "conventionalization" and "normalizing." Conventionalization is a term used in the empirical work of Backman (1976), as quoted in Harre (1977) and refers to a mode of justifying that involves giving what amounts to attenuated circumstances in socio-legal settings, e.g., "I took the car unasked, but it was an emergency and Dad wasnt home." Normalizing is a mode of justifying by appeal to the commonness, generality, or normalness of an act, e.g., "Everybody does it" or "It's been broken for a long time,"and so on.
In our own work, we are attempting to isolate several basic phenomena of accounting practices in various registers (see Chapter 11). In addition to such processes as conventionalizing and normalizing, we have investigated politicizing, psychologizing, impersonalizing, depersonalizing and personalizing, standardizing, objectifying, subjectifying, titling, indexing assessing, evaluating, judging, describing, annotating, and others. What is involved in this attempt is to discover the dimensions of acts or, as we would say, of en-act-ments. For example, CHART T/18 (see Chapter 10) presents one of our solutions in the attempt to describe the structure of the phenomenon of predication, of which the processes listed above are items that fit into the exhaustive 6 X 6 matrix shown in the CHART. According to Harre's formulation, the analysis of the content of accounts has the purpose of investigating the "cognitive resources available to an individual as a member of a community. The following diagram shows the research program envisaged by Harre:
accounting practices in the community as evidenced by individuals' accounts (=social competence)
models and ideal schemas viewed as scientific explanations for observed performance (=underlying mechanisms)
UNIVERSAL THEORY OF CULTURE AND MAN
|scientific theory of human action viewed cross-culturally and non-physiologically (=full understanding)|
Harre is vigorously hopeful about the capacity of social science today to implement Step 1, i.e., developing a local ethnography for individual community, while he seems to be unnecessarily (we think) pessimistic about Step 2, i.e., a full understanding of ourselves. Actually, the distinction between the two steps are somewhat arbitrary anyway, perhaps motivated by cautiousness in the face of traditionalist critics. On the other hand, this needs more careful consideration on our part.
Likewise, we need to study the empirical literature Harre cites, all of which belongs to the new paradigm of the 19701s. At the heart of this work in "ethogenics" is the premise that the representation and identification of a local ethnography amounts to a scientific explanation of individual social competence. This, neither Darwin nor Marx were able to achieve.
The functions of accounts on the daily round are obvious. In relationships, dyads typically evolve reciprocal accounting practices or "styles" which involve the participants in extensive routines of discussion, challenge, justification, denial, argument, agreements, and so on, all of which are familiar to intimates (cohabitants). In institutional settings, committee minutes and reports are accounts that officially justify views held and actions taken. Often, if not always, minutes of meetings assume a greater importance than the events of the meeting both because minutes are written (therefore, more exposed) as well as because actions at the meeting are managed just enough to allow the claim that the minutes are valid (hence, the actions occupy a secondary role to the minutes --- a situation similar to what Goffman, Harre, and others call "preemptive accounting").
Further research within the ethogenic orientation can be gleaned from another book, Life Sentences, edited by Harre (1976). An interesting example for students is a study by H. Morsback on the uses of the Japanese, "amae," which is examined within the context of "Some Japanese -Western linguistic differences concerning dependency needs" --the title of the article.
Finally, in this brief overview on the ethogenic approach to social psychology, we should mention developmental ethogenics which, according to Harre (1977) deals with the etiology of social competence. As such, studies are underway that contrast individual variation in terms of an age continuum; and if not age, then at least, some sequential process that may take years to unfold. The brief research available on this from the ethogenic point of view points, according to Harre, to an entirely new portrait of Everyman. For example, empirical evidence coming from investigating people's accounts reveal that people's personalities are variable over time. This is contrary to the "trait" theories in social psychology (Harre and Secord, 1972, refer to them as "dispositionalists"), which assume a good degree of stability, (see James and Nahl, 1975-77, on a contrast between the progressivist and radicalist definitions of psychotherapy and personal growth). It is clear that the new orientation towards the significance of people's accounts, i.e., talk on the daily round, will bring forth new conceptions of what it is to be a person and how it is to live a biography. This is bound to open up new cultural experiences that are now hidden and unavailable in the ordinary condition.
The Other Side. Since there are always two sides in a dialectical debate such as claims by Harre and Secord to a revolution in paradigm, it is prudent to present the other side despite the fact that the other side must be wrong, if this side is right. However, one must also know the reasons of being right and wrong and must strive for an explicit statement of the justifying rationales. Schlenker's reply to Harre' (1977) appears to represent the other side, which we can now examine (Schlenker, 1917, pp. 315-334). The exercise is more than pedantic: in reviewing the remarks of a social ps3chologist who is on the very side that the new ethogenics is supposed to replace, we are reviewing an account. At this point you can no doubt appreciate the importance we attach to the analysis of accounts and, therefore, you may anticipate that the analysis of Schlenker's account of Harre's account will reveal still more clearly the contrasts we've been drawing between an experimentalist view of social psychology and a natural historian's view of the same field, a field they both define as "the study of individuals in social settings."
This brings us to Kuhn's (1962) assertion about the psychosocial nature of scientific revolutions; namely, that the two sides in a paradigm switch employ different basic premises. He predicts that the same word or phrase both sides use will not have the same referent or meaning. Hence they appear to discuss each other's work in cross-purposes to one who is in a third paradigm. For students of social psychology, this triadic and historical stage can be most helpful. The situation can be diagrammed as follows:
where the outer rectangle represents the account we are now giving. After considering the above, and we hope you take time out to consider it, it will be obvious to you that there are more sophisticated statements one can make about the situation than assertions about which account is the right one!
Let us now consider some concrete issues in the light of the above frame analysis (Goffman, 1974). Schlenker must be credited for picking the correct issue for the fundamental dividing line between the old and the new paradigms now confronting each other. He writes on p. 319:
Since "people follow rules," the cataloguing of social conventions becomes the form of social explanation.
Question yourself here: is Schlenker for or against the proposal in that statement? viz., would he say that the cataloguing of social conventions is or is not a good type of explanation? Does he in that statement imply that cataloguing is a weak form of explanation? Part of the answer, one sentence later:
If we pursue the above recommendations, social psychology would certainly be given a radical face-lift. (p. 319)
Still guessing? The next part in the next sentence:
Social psychologists would become the scientific counterparts of Emily Post.
Still ambiguous. For is that a good thing or a bad thing? It is marvelous to see in actual operation a precept as abstract as Kuhn's assertion about scientific revolutions, namely, that the same scientific concepts are used by the two sides for cross-purposes. In this case, note that Schlenker questions the validity of usage of the term rules and puts people follow rules in quotation by way of indicating his doubts that it is sound to talk that way in social psychology; hence, also, the quotation marks around scientific. This practice of elevating a common meaningful word or expression to a quotation is morphologically akin to lowering the grade (or the boom!) of non-common technical terms. The former move by Schlenker is matched by the latter move in Harre when he uses parametric, em2rimentalist, mechanistic, and causal, to imply a wasteful and incoherent effort on the part of many currently active social psychologists.
Let us further examine some particular samples from Schlenker's account. These indicate two types of information:
- how Schlenker, as a public defender of the old paradigm, re-presents Harres account to the profession; here we find that the representation is valid in a number of crucial points;
- how Schlenker, as a member of a group that adheres to the old paradigm, systematically uses the terms rules, ordinary language, standardized, accounts, explanation, empirical, and problematic in ways that are at odds with the technical meaning these terms have for members of the new paradigm.
Sample 1: Using the terms rules and rule following in the manner prescribed would greatly limit Th-e-scope of social psychology I and make the anthropomorphic model largely immune to empirical challenge. (P. 318)
Sample 2: When do people choose not to follow social rules? What happens when social rules give competing directions? Why do people sometimes "obey" and sometimes disregard conventions? When gathering accounts, how do we separate self-deception and lying from actual perceptions of the situation? Until such questions are answered, or at least systematically addressed, the rule-following approach will contain major liabilities as a viable explanatory system. (p.319)
Sample 3: According to Harre's usage, social psychology has as its scope of inquiry the structural conventions and rituals that are "standardized" in a particular setting. (p. 320)
Sample 4: Mackinnon (1975, p. 72) chides Harre for placing "a priori restrictions limiting psychologists to the pre-scientific model of man implicit in ordinary language as the ultimate standard to use in judging the acceptability of any proposed revisions or replacements..." Oddly, with many philosophers concerned with the inadequacies of everyday language (e.g., Kaplan, 1964; Kemeny, 1959; Nagel, 1961), it is quite a change to have one employ such language as a major aspect of explanation. (p. 320)
Sample 5: Internal variables can enter into parametric interpretations just as can external variables; and most recent work in social psychology takes into account self-monitoring, self-regulation, internal processes, and so on (e.g., Bandura, 1974; Carson, 1969; Mischel, 1973). (p. 322)
Sample 6: One can conceptualize warranting in both structural and parametric ways. (p.323) [Note: "structural" and "parametric" are Harre's terms to refer to the new and old paradigms, respectively.
Sample 7: By the definition of its domain (i.e., the templates formed by local conventions), a structural interpretation as advanced by Harre excludes any possibility of finding universals. (p. 324)
Sample 8: Ethnomethodological studies do have problems that counterbalance some of their advantages. They lack the control, precision, and intersubjective reliability of experiments. A reader is often at the mercy of the researcher, trusting that subjective interpretations of ongoing events are reasonably accurate ... Ethnomethodologists can easily affect the accounts and activities of the participants in their studies. One is also never sure of the degree to which accounts are colored by "self-deception and lying," a consideration Harre" views as "problematic" and is never able to successfully resolve. (p. 325)
Sample 9: The ethogenic approach should be seriously studied and considered by social psychologists. The stress on structural interpretation is a needed ballast to counter the emphasis that has been placed on parametric interpretation. Many aspects of the ethogenic approach are reminiscent of Heider's (1958) heuristic analysis of "naive psychology." The dramaturgical analogy, the study of the syntactical nature of interaction rituals, accounting, and other microsociological ideas have greatly enriched the social sciences. Some of my own work on social influences has drawn heavily from this perspective (e.g., Schlenker, 1975a; 1975c; Tedeschi et. al., 1971), so I am more than sympathic to it. (p. 327)
The Third View. Perhaps Kuhn's (1962) description of scientific revolutions is not complete since it assumes that there are only two sides to a paradigm switch rather than four, as pictured in the diagram in Section [8. 2. 2. 2], namely, the new paradigm, the old paradigm, the writer' s account of the two paradigms, and the reader's or student's view in interpreting the third point of view. It is clear that the third point of view encompasses both first and second, while the fourth takes in the first three. If we were to present diagrammatically the defining features of our own ethnosemantic paradigm, the following emerges:
By way of explication, we can provide the following propositions outlined in the diagram:
The study of social psychology involves the student's attention in four conceptual "Zones":
Zone A: Topic Domain, which comprises the academic context historically viewed and critically weighed (e.g. Chapter 7);
Zone B: Methodol which comprises the empirical context viewed as a technical engineering problem in research; the DRA data constitutes a particular approach to investigating the social psychology of "the Daily Round" (e.g. Chapters 8 and 9);
Zone C: Theoretical Synthesis, which comprises "sociodynamics" or, the natural history of community life, and objectified case history accounts that deal with the personal and the individual (psychohistory, biography, consciousness) (e.g. Chapters 2-4 and 7)
Zone D: Applications, which comprises "Applied Social Psychology," of which the following are on-going projects by us and our students:
--Knowledge of Community; management of services; organization of routine procedures; mining information; in-house evaluations; and the like (e.g., Chapter 5);
--Educational Curricula; content of study materials; sequencing and age- grading; testing and evaluation; and the like (e.g., Chapters 1, 6, 11);
--Dictionaries; semantic analyses of concepts; thesaurus; charts; posters; archival collections; and the like (Chapter 7 and James and Nahl, 1975-1977);
--ES-Glossaries or Ethno-Semantic taxonomies of how people manage topics ("topicalization synamics") and discourse organization ("argument logic" and "register"); (e.g., Chapter 7 and James and Nahl, 1975-1977);
--ES-Catalogues or Ethnosemantic classification system for listing "orthographs" or the units of oral and written literacy; DRA Index; (e.g., Chapter 8, Section [8.5]).
Hopefully, by the end of the student's course of study in social psychology, the fourth view which is the student's own synthesis, will emerge as a serviceable theory leading to pragmatic applications. This new insight will no doubt emerge from the student's work on Research Reports (Chapter 11).