Context Analysis of the Jackson film (with Jane Ferber and John Schoonbeck)
(17.5mb .doc) or (6.9mb pdf)
This on-line appearance is the first publication of this research, undertaken by Jane Ferber, John Schoonbeck and me, in the early years (1969-71) of the Family Studies Section at Bronx Psychiatric Center. The Director of the Center, Israel Zwerling, had assembled two of the leading investigators of non-verbal behavior of that time, Albert Scheflen and Adam Kendon, and given them office and work space in the same building where we were working with Andy Ferber to organize the Family Studies Section. I don’t know whether Zwerling expected us to start working together, but given the atmosphere and personalities of the time, and Andy’s infectious camaraderie as a model, it was probably going to happen that Andy would do research on greeting behavior with Kendon, and Jane and John and I would wonder, after meeting with Scheflen, whether we could find the patterns of movement in family therapy sessions that he did. An important ingredient was the relaxed attitude towards work and time that prevailed in the Section. Ferber and Zwerling assumed we needed to go about getting to know each other and thinking about projects on an atmosphere of freedom. This work is one of the many happy results.
Another influence at that time was Gregory Bateson, whose work we were all reading, and who had a clear message: Mind is interactive, part of the self-regulatory feed-back that characterizes all living systems. Mind is social. Our replication of Scheflen’s work is part of that understanding, as well as part of the tradition of American psychology, the work of Dewey, James, Mead and Sullivan.
I tried to get this paper published in journals such as Sebiok’s Semiotica, but it is too long for anything but a book, or this, its online incarnation. Making it available fulfills a lifetime obligation, and that is a great relief.