Our society is desensitized to swearing
A theoretical attempt at integration
PRINCIPLES OF STRUCTURAL EDUCATION AND OVERALL SOCIAL ORDER OF COLLOCAL SYSTEMS
5.5. Behavioral Discipline Strategies
The two mechanisms of "sociofugality" and "desensitization" discussed so far have in common that the collocal partners are relieved of the burden of specifying and restricting their behavioral emissions from the point of view of how they affect others (causally or symbolically) .
Admittedly, socio-fugal orders are also based on "discipline" to the extent that the participants consciously (and perhaps neglecting their own urgent needs) avoid getting too close to others or even penetrate their physical box structures (closed doors, etc.) which these protect themselves from external perceptions.
But the need for discipline is relatively low overall, because such avoidances are generalized omissions which, unlike active actions, do not require any specific motivation or qualification, but can be "carried out" in the same way by a wide variety of individuals in a wide variety of situations (cf. . Geser 1986b).
The unsurpassable ubiquity and functional reliability of sociofugal orders is based on the fact that it is sufficient for their constitution to permanently "produce" such "non-events" (non-collisions, non-perceptions, non-injuries, etc.): whereby one can remain in the uncertain whether and to what extent it is intentional Failure to act or objective situation conditions that lead to such non-occurrences.
In comparison, "tolerance orders" that are based on insensitivity to perceptible foreign behavior are dependent on a disproportionately higher level of discipline: e.g. when considerable self-control is necessary to withstand the penetrating body odor of the person sitting next to you or to "ignore" insulting insinuations with stoic equanimity.
Although such "non-reactions" are much more likely than socio-fugal "non-penetrations" to have the character of intentional actions, they also have the character of unspecific omissions that do not require any special skills or knowledge, arise from a multitude of different motives and also entirely other ways than through actions.
Anyone who "overhears" an insult may - as the common ambiguity of this verb already expresses - do it out of sheer inattention, and whoever goes blind, deaf, drunk or otherwise anesthetized in company or indulges in an absorbing secondary activity can be effective there as an "interdependence breaker" for conflict-prone collocal interaction cycles without having to rely on demanding character traits such as "tolerance" or "polite restraint".
In contrast, it is characteristic of the strategies of behavioral discipline discussed below that the collocal partner
- constantly paying attention to one another and maintaining a generalized responsiveness and responsiveness to one another;
- Because of this abandonment of evasive strategies, putting yourself under pressure to control practically all of your specific behavioral expressions with regard to how they are perceived and interpreted by the interaction partners, and what effect they have on the collocal interaction system as a whole.
- less ubiquitous: because demanding requirements of a motivational and qualification nature are required, which cannot be expected everywhere;
- less stable and reliable: because individuals, due to their physical and psychological contingencies as well as their other social commitments, are not permanently willing and / or able to provide the necessary services in terms of attention, tactical skill, conformal adaptation, etc.
On the outer periphery there are those forms of discipline that are still very similar to sociofugality and desensitization (and accordingly available without preconditions), which serve to avoid disruptive behavioral emissions (i.e., again, the generation of "omissions" or "non-events"): e.g. if theater spectators crowded together remain immobile and hold on to themselves with sneezes, blows or coughs; or if the organizational principle of the "queue" requires that the counter customers stop in the order in which they arrive.
Such "generalized passivations" have the advantage of being practicable by individuals with the most varied of characteristics under a relatively wide range of situational conditions and being relatively easy to sanction violations: because it is only a matter of inhibiting unpopular active behavior instead of evoking desired behavior. They therefore often remain the only alternative when - for example in public places - individuals of a very heterogeneous and unpredictably changing nature come into particularly dense and long-lasting collocal relationships. Their serious disadvantage, however, is that with the blanket inhibition of all active behavior, all possibilities of productive action and cooperative interaction come to a standstill: so that, for example, a cinema audience who is held together only by mutual silence and sitting quietly is hardly able to act in an orderly manner in the event of a sudden fire Clearance of the hall to allow the necessary minimum communication to take place, and the horizontal relationships of help and solidarity in primary school classes remain poorly developed if the students are forbidden to whisper or change their eyes.
The second alternative, which is more unreliable and richer in prerequisites, consists in evoking - mostly relatively simple - active behavior in those present, but at the same time channeling it into the forms of stereotypical leveling and routine-rhythmic repetition, such as those for the military pace, the Clapping of applause or the chanted chants of angry demonstrators are characteristic.
This obviously succeeds in putting all those involved in a state of active action without endangering the cohesion of the collocal field or having to accept symptoms of internal disorganization and inter-individual uncertainty of expectations.
But the necessary prerequisite for this is
- that everyone does exactly the same thing: so that everyone in their immediate vicinity has some other people available as orientation models who precisely pre-demonstrate the required behavior (= social leveling);
- that everyone often does the same thing one after the other: so that they have the opportunity to use their previous actions as a model for future ones and thereby stabilize a certain behavior mode in a self-referential manner over time (= individual habitualization);
- that regardless of the specificity of the situation and objectives, only that limited inventory of behaviors is accessed which, thanks to their simplicity or varied other practice, can be carried out in a sufficiently similar manner by all those involved without special qualifications (= interpersonal standardization).
- to switch from one behavior pattern to another discontinuously over time (e.g. during military drill);
- to expand the updated scheme into a complex program of sequential sub-steps and to assign different roles to different groups of participants in this process (e.g. in choirs, orchestras, ballet or artist groups).
- enter into the concretization of the specific behavior constitutively (e.g. by eating crayfish in a civilized way, blowing your nose or expressing your emotions),
- In addition to the rest of the behavior for the purpose of reducing tension, avoiding conflict, etc. run along: e.g. if one can read the willingness to forgive and forget in the look that accompanies the verbal reprimand, or if the dentist performs his purely instrumental painful intervention with soothing and comforting persuasions flanked,
- can be inserted into the interaction process as independent actions: e.g. as acts of apology, with which one can repair the harmful interpersonal consequences of a mishap, or as joking interim remarks, with which one ends a state of accumulated tension and uncertainty (cf. e.g. Goffman 1974: 138ff. )
First, there is the relatively easy to standardize, sometimes even highly ritualized form of rule-compliant behavior, which makes it possible to expect who will behave and how on which occasion: If two cars reach the intersection at the same time, the one coming from the right can count on the right of way; if I invite business friends to a weekend party, they will appear in dignified festive attire; If a participant in the discussion is overwhelmed by a coughing fit, he will temporarily leave the room out of consideration for the others, etc. etc.
Such conditionalizations have the double function, on the one hand, to keep certain social conditions invariant over changes in the environmental situation (e.g. when the coughing leaves the room to enable the further undisturbed progress of the cinema or opera performance), and on the other hand, to be able to predict better, how social conditions covariate with changing situation conditions (e.g. when you can expect to find only festively dressed restaurant guests in the "Esplanade" and only negligently dressed restaurant guests in the "Weisses Kreuz").
Second, there is the difficult to survey residual area of those behavioral disciplining achievements conditional by no specific norms, for the exercise of which diffusely circumscribable, subtle character traits such as "knowledge of human nature", "ability to communicate" or "instinct" are considered indispensable.
Their field of application extends in particular to those singular (or in any case never identically repeated) interactive constellations that are simultaneously significant enough to - as in the case of negotiation processes or job interviews - the participants to an above-average commitment of attention, caution, consideration, to motivate strategic skill and empathy.
Between these two spheres lies a wide mixed zone of semi-standardized behavioral regulations that require relatively generalized, but nevertheless easily socializable qualifications such as "politeness", "tact" or "courtesy" and, above all, in the area of corrective-restorative disciplinary actions (apologies, forgiveness, Reparations, appeasement, etc.) develop a great importance.
The immense functional importance of behavioral disciplines arises primarily from the fact that strategies of desensitization are largely unsuitable when they apply
- to concentrate numerous people in very narrow spaces and to maintain such densities over a long period of time without symptoms of psychological frustration and / or social disorganization (1),
- in the collocal field not only to realize relationships of undisturbed coexistence and negative demarcation, but also relationships of attentive interpersonal care and positive cooperation (2).
The prerequisite for desensitization, namely being able to selectively control the reception of irritating stimuli and intentionally reduce it, is only sufficiently fulfilled for the sense of sight. As easy as it is - especially when the other person is not too close and therefore only fills a part of the field of vision - you can "protect" yourself from visual immissions by simply averting your eyes, it seems hopeless to use an analogous method against acoustic, olfactory or even olfactory ones Anesthetize tactile and painful sensations. Since human ears, noses and areas of skin, unlike the eyes, have no ability to actively behave, the recipient only has the option of inhibiting the inevitable sensory stimuli during their intraneural transmission into the center of consciousness, i.e. them - e.g. by turning more intensely to others Stimuli - to give as little attention and importance as possible. As the intensity of the immissions increases, the scope for intentional manipulation of experience also decreases, and above all intense pain perceptions tend to translate rigidly and without alternatives into correlative experiences and force full attention to be given (cf. Waldenfels 1980: 106ff.).
The closer people now move together, the more the focus of their interpersonal perception tends to shift from the visual sense to those sensory organs responsible for the immediate vicinity that allow less "receptive autonomy". And when there is a dense crowd, that much-described discomfort of crampedness ("crowding") that arises from fear tends to arise. External immissions of a tactile, painful or even physically injurious kind of being helplessly surrendered: that is, those stimuli that act exclusively at zero distance and give their recipient the smallest possible scope for intentional variation in experience (cf. Middlebrook 1980: 470)
In addition to such physiologically fixed basic parameters, the interpersonal sensitivities are increased considerably under the following conditions:
- if the individual participants carry out activities that, for objective reasons, require the absence of certain immissions (e.g. a low noise level or unhindered freedom of movement for the limbs) (see e.g. Euler 1977);
- if the participants maintain specific sensory sensitivities based on their norms, goals, values or tastes: e.g. if they find the slightest hint of smoky air abhorrent or indignant on the beach about nude bathers - who are so easily overlooked;
- when individuals, due to their status-related or otherwise supported claims, insist on an immission-free environment (e.g. on a "quiet residential area" or on airplane seats with sufficient lateral freedom of movement) and the expectation that they would have to adapt themselves by exerting tolerance and tolerance is unacceptable Feel unreasonable.
Likewise, the rising social status level seems to be accompanied by regularly higher intolerances towards the narrowing of the space for movement and its penetration by other people, whereby the symbolic prestige value of sound-insulating double doors or screened single-bed rooms can additionally contribute to intensifying such differentiations (cf. Goffman 1974: 54ff.).
Desensitization mechanisms are fundamentally incompatible with all more demanding forms of interpersonal affection, communication and cooperation, because sensory insensitivities always have a generalized character and therefore extend equally to desired exchange or cooperation relationships as to undesirable irritations.
Whoever strives to "emigrate" from the interpersonal field of perception by turning the line of sight, immersing himself in automanipulative activities, alcoholic anesthesia or any other way
- immunizes itself in the objective sense against all more constructive social stimuli, as they are indispensable for the expansion of personal knowledge, for the exploration of consensus chances, the generation of feelings of sympathy, the initiation of coordinated actions and in many other "prosocial" respects;
- by means of these same actions shows others demonstratively that he is indisposed and / or unwilling to receive any behavior or speech expressions of others and to react to them himself.
Especially when collocal interaction partners confront each other as eager competitors, suspicious negotiating partners, envious rivals or even threatening enemies, they see themselves caught in a painful, irreversible situation of the "double bind": on the one hand, they are constantly highly motivated and keep one eye on each other on the other hand, anticipating with certainty, making predominantly frustrating, annoying or even frightening perceptions.
The more intensely and continuously collocal partners make each other objects of perception and assessment (and know this from each other), the more exclusively they rely on strategies of behavioral discipline in order to regulate their mutual relationships and the order of the entire social system, because everyone involved
- particularly vulnerable due to its unspecific openness to external stimuli and therefore relies on the irritating effects of others not occurring;
- must be careful to only emit the utterances intended by him and not to provoke any inopportune impressions, attributions or reactions.
- To the extent that the participants are self-referentially engaged in the conscious planning and control of their own behavior, they have fewer valences free to register the behavior of others. It is possible that the interpersonal sensitization prevailing in a collocal system can never exceed a certain limited level: because the additional investments in self-observation and self-control, which are necessary due to their growth, produce a braking effect (in the sense of "negative feedback").
- To the extent that the number of those present grows, everyone must selectively focus their limited perceptual potential on a few others (or on a few of their behaviors): so that everyone only feels observed by a small number of others.
Both forces (which reduce the need for behavioral discipline or limit it upwards) are all the more effective, the more all participants participate in the collocal field of interaction as both acting and reacting, as perceiving and perceiving.
On the other hand, the problems are often almost unsolvable in the opposite extreme case, where most of those present as spectators or listeners turn their attention radially to an individual (e.g. a lecturer) or a small group (e.g. a theater ensemble) that monopolizes the role of active action.
Because in this case
- the purely receptive audience members can direct their entire attention unhindered to the focal actor, because they are not claimed by any self-referential efforts (of their own behavior control);
- the focal actor has to operate under the difficulty that the essential characteristics of the entire social system as well as the quality of all (radial-receptive) communication relationships occurring in it depend entirely on whether and how he disciplines his behavior.
In general, any kind of centralization of social relationships under collocal conditions is associated with an immensely growing risk of disappointment and destabilization: because the social system as a whole (as well as each individual participant) makes itself sensitive to the existence and behavior of less focal actors, their slightest indispositions (bad mood , Lack of concentration, forgetfulness, physical uncontrolledness) result in the broadest disruptive effects in the entire collocal field: Irritations of the most dysfunctional kind because (in contrast to more egalitarian relationships of horizontal interdependence) no competing attention centers are available to reduce the conspicuousness of "deviant stage behavior", and none alternative sources of behavioral emissions to take corrective action.
In translocal social conditions it may easily be possible to bring such contingencies under control solely through adequate cognitive shielding of the central rulers and through strict selectivity of the information given to the public.
On the other hand, under collocal conditions, leaders have to pay dearly for any growth in prominence and influence that they do
- to be in the spotlight of the audience even more intensely and exclusively,
- run even more risk of triggering the most serious unintended effects and of losing reputation even through the slightest uncontrolledness (e.g. careless verbal statements, insufficiently concealed contempt for oppositional speakers, etc.).
So the leaders who endogenously grown up in colocal groups will normally have the need to be content with an incompletely pronounced position of priority moderated by various equalizing influences; and exogenous leaders imposed by local institutions will regularly find it difficult to fully assert their formal status in the collocal field.
Local police officers and village pastors, as well as officers within their troops or professors in the doctoral colloquium, are subject to certain tendencies of "informal status erosion", which can often only be kept within acceptable limits by shortening their length of stay.
In order to secure the validity of their formal norm structures, many institutions therefore feel compelled to rotate their exponents systematically between different collocal contexts: a measure which not only relieves the institution of sanction requirements, but also its representatives of laborious self-control.
Permanent, highly institutionalized collocal fields of interaction (such as monasteries, cities or royal courts) have proven time and again in history to be breeding grounds for new types of behavioral disciplines, which form an indispensable basis for the forms of communication in today's urban society and decisively help to constitute the personality of the "civilized individual" .
As Norbert Elias makes clear in his analysis of "court society", the highest social elites are particularly qualified (or motivated) to react to conditions of collocal densification with innovative behavioral norms that subsequently spread universally due to their model character.
Social upper classes can normally be characterized as social collectives with pronounced socio-fugal characteristics. They consist of individuals or families who represent independent centers of power, wealth or prestige on the basis of land ownership, capital ownership, political leadership or any other institutional authority status, who use their resources to ensure relatively extensive scope for autonomous action and who do not tolerate uncontrolled foreign penetration of such spheres of autonomy .
This applies particularly drastically to feudal country elites of agricultural societies (e.g. of the European Middle Ages), whose members resided in large patrimonial households that were geographically distant from each other and developed a particularist-oriented way of life, as expressed in the individualism of the knightly culture and in the rival aristocracy of the noble families came.
It is all the more fascinating to observe the profound social transformation process that resulted from the collocal concentration of the aristocratic elite at the courts of absolutist rulers (especially in France): that of Elias, traced with unsurpassable sensitivity and analytical precision, to which we commonly call the " Courtesy "designated forms of behavioral discipline (characterized by increased inhibitions of aggression and systematized interpersonal" considerations "in all everyday activities).
When switching to the condensed courtly way of life (due to monarchist concentration of power and the associated loss of independent feudal livelihoods) it became necessary for the nobles to change their status, which they could previously based on stable foundations of property and family ancestry, now within the context of the condensed field of interaction To defend or to increase at court: through the greatest possible skill, in competition with rivals, to win the favor of the king or his closest confidante (minister, maitressen, etc.) and to maintain one's own autonomy and sphere of influence despite the inevitable permanent cohabitation with competitive status comrades .
Socio-fugal regulatory mechanisms were hardly available under these conditions, because the impossibility of being able to secure one's status position anywhere other than through the relationship with the absolutist monarch was effective as an immense sociopetal pressure, which for the forced permanent concentration of practically the entire elite in the royal residence (e.g. in Versailles with its at times over 10,000 inhabitants) provided:
"The courtly society of the ancien regime did not give its members any evasions at all. Because it had no equal in prestige and as a giver of prestige for the individual members. There was no possibility for the courtly people of the ancien regime to change the place, Paris or To leave Versailles and nevertheless to continue one's life as a peer without loss of prestige for one's own consciousness through the transition to another approximately equal society. " (Elias 1983: 151/152).
On the other hand, it was also completely out of the question to base the social organization at court primarily (or only secondarily) on mechanisms of interpersonal desensitization, because the members of the nobility
- Due to their outstanding social status position (and probably also because of their centuries of pre-socialization in the socio-fugal feudal milieu) they still maintained a high level of sensitivity to personal irritation and foreign infiltration and placed great emphasis on a controllable, free from disturbing stimuli for the purpose of predictable action and enjoyment Environment to have around;
- Due to their mutual rivalry for the favor of the king, they were forced to constantly give each other the most intense attention: be it to suspiciously compare their own chances of status and influence with those of others, be it to improve their own by means of complicated tactical interaction maneuvers Wrestling position:
Court societies are extremely unstable in the sense that the status positions held by their most important, dominant representatives are not bestowed on the basis of permanent ascription criteria such as "extent of land ownership" or "quality of genealogical ancestry", but on the much more fluctuating one Based on tactical successes in interaction, as they are constituted anew and differently every day in the fluid medium of the courtly colonial field.
As a medium for individual status acquisition and collective status distribution, the collocal courtly interaction field fulfills the same function for the aristocratic elite as the translocal exchange field of the economic market for the mercantile bourgeoisie, where financial gains and losses lead to similarly unstable positions characterized by dramatic opportunities for advancement and risks of decline.
Many essential differences between "bourgeois culture" and "aristocratic culture" are easy to understand if one assumes that it is not highly internalized individual disciplinary achievements (of the Protestant ethic type) that make the difference in collocal fields, but characteristic forms of interactional behavioral discipline, which are largely only have validity for dealing with fellow status members who are spatially present.
An analysis of the "courtly society" can by no means only provide information about the particular constituent structural features and functioning of absolutist forms of society, but also contribute to the elucidation of much more general theoretical principles.
Because it can be represented better on it than on any other illustrative case
- In what fundamental way comprehensive macro-sociological social relations can be constituted by microsocial structures and processes within excellent collocal fields of interaction;
- which mechanisms contribute to helping a collocal social system, which is practically exclusively based on disciplinary strategies, to achieve order and durability.
In the following, use will be made of these (of course, completely implicit) convergences in order to identify more precisely the mechanisms of behavioral discipline commonly used in the context of collocal interaction and, based on their specific prerequisites, functions and consequential problems, to draw conclusions about the relationship (the Substitutivity, complementarity, etc.) they are related to each other.
1) Compulsion for interaction-related empathy and "decentering"It is characteristic of all collocal fields of interaction that the control and discipline of individual behavior can only be based on interpersonal mechanisms (e.g. reprimands, threats, revenge, etc.) to a very limited extent: especially not if the members stay together for a long time and / or stand in particularly tightly woven interdependencies.
This is related to the fact that control and sanctioning actions are due
- the diffuse and uncontrollable nature of (non-verbal and verbal) communication
- the "double contingency" of all interpersonal actions and reactions
The "looping processes" in closed institutions ("total institutions") testify most clearly that collocal interaction systems have to deal with the permanent risk of cumulative internal polarization and disorganization processes: processes that have to be suppressed by means of individual self-discipline if they are not simply walking away ( Sociofugality) or the aversion of attention (desensitization) can be eliminated (cf. Goffman 1973: 43ff.).
In addition, there is the further risk that third parties present can easily be included in an open dispute: because, depending on their social sympathy, solidarity or friendship ties, they feel compelled to take sides for one side or the other and thus a greater spread of the conflict (as well as unforeseen shifts of power between the parties) (Not least for such reasons, absolutist rulers such as Richelieu or Louis XIV endeavored to wean their court nobles from the traditional custom of dueling (Elias 1983: 355)).
In order to avoid such risks, it is necessary to shift a larger part of the behavior-regulating and behavior-controlling mechanisms from the interpersonal to the intrapersonal level and to expect the interaction partners to develop empathy and self-discipline based on the stability needs of the entire colonial field.
In general, active collocal interaction participants, regardless of their factual concerns or their mood and emotional state, always have to divert part of their total attention (usually increased by an "interaction tone") for it
- their bilateral relations with other participants
- the field of interaction as a whole
Regardless of how immensely important I find my own contribution to the discussion: I always have to take into account that others want to have their say or that they feel irritated and bored by my overly lengthy statements.
And no matter how massively and unyieldingly I insist on my maximum demands in negotiation processes: at least in the way I present them, I always have to take into account that "unnecessary snubs" are to be avoided. And often enough, I too will find myself forced to make real compromises in order to keep the interaction process alive at all.
The fact that the entire social field is in my sensory area of perception and that all processes occurring in it can be registered without delay, makes it easier for me to share part of the overall responsibility for this social system and for the specification of all my actions
- self-referential aspects (what do they mean for me, my interests and values?)
- interreferential aspects (what do they mean for this or that individual partner?)
- supra-referential considerations (what do they mean for the continuation of the discussion process, for maintaining the team spirit or "negotiating climate", etc.?)
"It turns out that the participants are not primarily asked to express their own points of view, but rather have to ensure that the extensive potential for expression available to the members is not used inadvertently in a completely unintentional and improper way It is important to them that everyone can save face; and accordingly their main role is ultimately to contribute to an orderly communication process through their behavior. " (Goffman 1981).
Such "relationship maintenance" gains in importance as the partners interact under the premise that they maintain very long-term social relationships, see each other again and again on many different occasions, and are perhaps inevitably bonded to one another.
This explains the extraordinary importance of "formalities" in the courtly feudal nobility, where all these requirements were met to the highest degree. In this way the courtly nobleman is motivated to the maximum extent to put the "how" before the "what" when interacting: because it is rational for him to invest as much energy as possible in the quality of his relationships (with peers). Because this relationship field functions for him as a substitute for accumulated capital, on which the bourgeois person usually bases his existential security and status pretensions.
Thus, collocal interaction partners are forced to a certain decentralization of their perspectives for action, quite independently of their internalized moral concepts and empathic abilities: solely because the negative consequences of ruthless egocentric behavior are immediately perceptible (e.g. in the form of reprimanding expressions, bored looks etc.). In translocal interactions (e.g. by fax or telephone), it will be much more dependent on internalized norm orientations as well as intra-individual evoked (= remembered or imagined) cognitive ideas whether an actor adheres to self-referential points of view, to presumed intentions ALTERS or to the (both connecting) ) Oriented to the structure of an integral social system context. And often enough, the cognitive conditions alone will suggest that preference should be given to one's own perspective, which is directly, effortlessly and detailed accessible through introspection (instead of the comparatively speculative assumptions about what the distant partner means or what kind of relationship I am currently connected to).
In accordance with such theoretical ideas, social-psychological experiments on "distributive justice" have shown that partners who anticipate future re-encounters, regardless of their personal contribution from "courtesy", only claim a relatively modest share of the scarce reward to be distributed, while the others insist on a strictly performance-related distribution mode ("equity") (Shapiro, 1975; Schwinger 1980: 107ff.)
Targeted accumulation of "gratitude credits" makes it possible to make future collocal interaction phases more risk-free and predictable: because one can then make "immodest wishes" successfully without endangering mutual benevolence or even generating threatening resentment.
Tactically motivated restraint, consideration, caution (and often enough also forbearance) are required to a greater extent in relation to those collocal partners who (e.g. due to their position of influence) have particularly extensive capacities for action and effect and therefore equally as a potential source of immense opportunities and advantages as well as threatening risks and sanctions must be taken into account:
"The opposition nobleman seeks to establish a connection with the Crown Prince, whose position itself makes him inclined to take an oppositional stance. The procedure is dangerous, especially for Saint-Simon. He has to feel the prince's stance carefully to know how far he is going Saint-Simon's description itself shows first of all the extraordinary awareness with which he approaches his goal and at the same time the joy in the art with which he masters the task. It clearly shows how and why the relatively lower one The prince is, to a certain extent, always able to break out of the purposeful rules of the game of polite conversation; he can, if it suits him, the conversation and end relationship for any reason without losing too much. For Saint-Simon, on the other hand, a great deal depends on the outcome of such a conversation, and for him it is therefore of vital importance to act with the utmost restraint and deliberation, but with a restraint and deliberation that the interlocutor must never feel Works to go. "(Elias, 1983: 164/165).
In collocal systems, particularly influential people are usually only bearable if they are present very sporadically: because their permanent presence puts the subordinates in front of undue demands for discipline and often prevents them, in addition to the high expenditure of subtly planned interaction tactics and strategic "impression management", also the to carry out tasks that are actually intended for them.
One of the numerous counterproductive effects of open-plan offices is that their occupants experience the temporally generalized presence of their superiors as an extremely restrictive and demotivating situation: in contrast to the traditional small office, where such disciplinary constraints on the few, time-limited "visits" by the "boss" "remain limited (cf. Fritz 1982: 153ff.)
If one adds to the above statement (cf. II) that the influencing person present is also burdened with disciplinary requirements, there is now a double reason for the hypothesis that
- Conditions of continuously persistent (or often repetitive) collocality are incompatible with conditions of high system-internal centralization (of power, influence, prestige, leadership, etc.);
- Exogenously predetermined conditions of high centralization (e.g. based on formal authority) can only be maintained without tension if and to the extent that the focal person reduces the periods of their presence.
2) Interreferentially certain ways of individual self-reflection and identity formationAs a correlate of collocal behavioral discipline, a characteristic way of individual self-reflection and identity formation emerges, which is not attached to introspectively developed content of experiences or intentions, but to external expressions and actions: from the point of view of how others perceive, interpret and react to them.
"The introspection and the observation of other people correspond with each other. One would be pointless without the other. So it is not here, as in the case of a primarily religious motive, an observation of one's" inner ", an immersion in oneself as an isolated knowledge for testing and disciplining his most secret impulses for God's will, but rather an observation of himself for disciplining in social intercourse. " (Elias 1983: 159/160).
In collocal situations, as is well known (see 4.4), individuals are relatively less dependent on self-referential orientation (on their own "self-image" or on the "idealized EGO") because they have almost as easy, comprehensive and reliable cognitive access to external assessments as they do to introspective self-assessments (see Schütz 1973: 227ff.)
Insofar as independent personal self-typifications and identity attributions arise at all, they have the Meadian character of the "generalized other" in which expectations of others that have been developed in relation to "typical collocal partners" are reflected in the form of self-expectations. One will then praise oneself predominantly on virtues that bring one success and recognition in average collocal interaction cycles (eg "tact", "courtesy" or "unobtrusiveness"), while one saves one's private feelings of shame and guilt for behaviors in which social unpopular or humiliating qualities (eg "naivety", "intrusiveness", "ruthlessness") are expressed.
Logically, the interpersonal perceptions and typifications of complexity, fluidity and the tightly woven causal interrelationships of collocal fields are only appropriate if each participant does not consider the others as isolated, endogenous dispositions (such as "character", "interest", "mood") ua) perceived determined individuals, but as exponents of a social field of relationships, whose experience and action are subject to various environmental influences.
Ideally, each member should then have an overview of the structure and dynamics of the entire field of interaction (with all bilateral and multilateral relationships updated in it) in order to identify the force vectors currently effective on each other member.
In this sense, an extremely subtle, differentiated style of interpersonal perception has developed among the courtly feudal elite at Versailles, which nevertheless cannot be called "psychological" because "situational" over "dispositional" attributions assert priority:
"The courtly art of human observation is all the more realistic as it is never geared towards looking at the individual person for himself alone, like a being who primarily receives the essential laws and traits from within. One observes this rather within the courtly world The individual always in his social interdependence: as a human being in his relationship with others. This also shows the total social bond of the courtly person. " (Elias 1983: 159).
Because spatially condensed groups of people confront sensual perception as objects clearly highlighted, outside observers tend, as is well known, to attribute the causes of many individual behaviors to "togetherness" rather than to the individual "person" (cf. 4.4).
Likewise, the general tendency of individuals to prefer situational attributions when attributing their own behavior is in line with the high contextual power of determination of collocal social systems: even if the individual often does not adequately perceive the extent to which he himself is aware of the situation (i.e. the conditions under which others act and react to it) (Sillars 1981).
Conversely, the general tendency of social interaction partners to attribute the behavior of others to dispositional terms (see e.g. Walster 1966, Jones / Nisbett 1972). lead to a considerable underestimation of the behavioral influences emanating from the field of those present: and constant communication may be necessary in order to reduce the constantly renewing discrepancies between external self and internal external attributions.
3. Constraints on deprofiling and conformanceUnder collocal conditions, social action processes are characterized by the fact that
- the people who are to be considered as the cause of involuntary or intentional behavior
- the behavior (e.g. movement sequences, speech acts, etc.) that they perform with the help of their bodily organs
- the effects that these behaviors trigger on addressees or other affected parties
In the medium of sensual perception, the synthesis of these three constituents of action is usually uncontrollable and spontaneous, so that in contrast to past, remote or remote-acting behaviors, there is no need to secure them by means of artificially generated (and accordingly controversial and variable) attribution constructions.
Every actor experiences himself without a doubt as someone whose careless arm movements have caused this other person a painful experience right now and prompted them to react in a frightened-reluctant manner, or whose joking-ironic objections are obviously not understood.
Because of such feedback, the action processes carried out in the collocal milieu are better suited to induce a stream of accompanying (or immediately following) self-attributions compared to solitary private actions or translocal communications (e.g. telephone calls, letters, etc.). I am less able to ignore my own state of inner anger when others attest to a flush of anger or a threatening tremor in my voice; spontaneous praise from the teacher can easily free a child from the last doubts about his own abilities; and an intoxicated nocturnal motorist may only be able to convince himself of his own inability to drive by hitting a pedestrian.
Even more important is the fact that the actions performed in the presence of others also generate a constant stream of external attributions: the possibility, yes, probability, that self-attributions and external attributions (or the latter among themselves) diverge, give rise to diverse uncertainties, conflicts and coordination difficulties arise.
External attributions are so ubiquitous because observers present can usually easily determine which events are caused by which behavioral processes of which people. Each participant in the interaction must therefore permanently take into account that all of his or her behaviors are (can) be rated by others as expressions from which conclusions can be drawn about his intentions, abilities, moods or character traits.
Through appropriate discipline of behavior, each partner may partially succeed in keeping the impressions and typifications awakened by him in accordance with his self-attributions or in purely tactical intent to evoke a personal self-portrayal that is advantageous to him.
On the other hand, there are numerous reasons why such a purposeful manipulation of external assessments is never permanent and complete:
- At least on the non-verbal level of behavior, no actor has a complete knowledge of which announcements he is constantly emitting: e.g. because he cannot adequately perceive his own movement sequences and many gestural and facial expressions elude his consciousness at all (cf. 2.2.4).
- Even a complete knowledge of all one's own behavioral processes would not eliminate the problem of their inadequate controllability: because (in contrast to translocal written communication, for example) there are always bodily manifestations that are (such as sneezing, burping, trembling, stumbling) due to them Removing physiological-anatomical co-determination from intentional control.
- Even with complete knowledge and control, the problem would still remain that the same behaviors develop different causal effects depending on the situational conditions, and that it is these objective consequences rather than the (intended and also completed) behavioral processes that those affected tend to base their attributions on. This can be seen, for example, in the tendency of traffic accident victims to attribute subjective guilt to those who caused the accident, regardless of which objective situation conditions led to the mishap (cf.Walster 1966; Wortman 1976), or in the tendency of parents from lower social classes with their children not so much to sanction "bad intentions", but exclusively to sanction actions that lead to objective disruption or damage.
- because - given the sensitivity of the audience - they attract a lot of attention and spontaneous interest thanks to their conspicuousness;
- because it is not possible to identify an over-subjective source of attribution that lies outside the actor (e.g. a collective expectation, norm, rule, instruction, habit, etc.): so it is imperative to look for its cause in the person of the action subject.
- demands from him more than from others specific reasons and explanations for his behavior (or its results)
- Other types of his person (with regard to character, skills, interests, moods, etc.) are based above average on such representational performances ("performances") (while, for example, objective status features, memories of past behavior, etc. are comparatively less important).
Accordingly, collocal interaction participants will usually find themselves compelled to deprofile their behavior (as well as their external appearance) in order to dilute the stream of external attributions that they themselves induce, but which cannot be monitored and controlled, and thereby free themselves from the compulsions of justification and discipline , which go hand in hand with the attention of those present, to partially relieve.
There are two strategies available for this, which are usually used in combination:
- Passivation: by putting on a "controlled facial expression" as well as by rigidity in clothing or cosmetic measures (make-up, etc.) one can ensure that the body generally emits less (above all: less undesirable, unconscious and uncontrolled) expressions. In contrast to the mechanism of desensitization (cf. 4), the aim here is to reduce the complexity of the stimuli from the emissive (instead of the receptive) side: which is probably all the more urgent, the more people present are sensitized to it, from facial expressions or others Physical revelations to draw conclusions.
- Conformism: the strict adaptation of individual behavior to (explicit or imputed) social expectations, norms, rules and habits is by far the most effective strategy of behavioral discipline.
This tendency is probably supported by the so-called "discounting principle": i.e. by the regularity that predominant situational attributions tend to displace competing dispositional attributions not only gradually, but fundamentally (cf. Kelly 1972).
- that it does not disturb the others in the objective sense (and does not force them to appropriate reactive sanctions);
- that he does not maneuver himself into the spotlight of general attention (and thereby experiences a corresponding generalized pressure to discipline);
- that he can hide his "real person" as if behind a protective wall: because the others will be inclined to interpret his behavior primarily not as individual expression, but as a correlate of person-independent social expectations, obligations, etc. (cf. Goffman 1971: 43).
There is an extremely potent and ubiquitous source of motivation for behavioral conformity, which by no means arises from any internal consensual agreement with the norms and rules to be observed, but rather from the effort to evade the undesirable and risky implications of a somehow conspicuous self-portrayal. As a factually generalized source of motivation (i.e. independent of the specific norms), it can also explain those astonishing, sometimes even shocking phenomena of collocal behavioral conformity, such as those made visible in the results of the "Milgram experiment" (Milgram 1974).
The combined "attribution-dampening" effect of behavioral passivation and behavioral conformity can be illustrated very well using the example of that syndrome of conventionalized expectations that is called "well-groomed appearance". As a highly differentiated product of previous disciplinary efforts (choosing and putting on clothes, hairdressing, brushing teeth, deodorizing, cleaning fingernails, shaving, applying make-up, etc.), it is brought into the collocal interaction field ready-made in order to assume the function of an invariant basic role ("correct appearance") take.
As such, it serves to
- to induce favorable initial attributions: by suggesting to the colocal partners that they are looking at a person who is able and willing to self-discipline and social adjustment in a general sense (cf.Goffman 1971: 36ff.)
- To relieve the ongoing interaction processes of current disciplinary constraints: by explaining unconventional individual actions as "atypical slip-ups" (instead of interpreting them as symptomatic expressions of a personality structure) when they are carried out by a "fundamentally serious, trustworthy individual".
It is essential to understand that in the "correct appearance" the element of conformity is always combined with components of passivation: in that the "appropriate clothing" as well as the required "uniformly friendly expression" always have the property of weakening or increasing various bodily forms of expression camouflage.
On solemn occasions that require particular discipline, uniforms, coats, gowns, top hats, robes, chasuble or other deprofiling clothing can have the effect of reducing physical expression (and the corresponding risks of self-expression) to a minimum.
If, on the one hand, collocal social systems are, as is well known, disposed to undermine conventional determinations and traditional rigidities through the self-sustaining fluidity of their internal processes (cf. 4.3), on the other hand they turn out to be fields of interaction that keep such conventionalisms alive through constant reproduction even - as can again be illustrated by the courtly society of France - endogenously generating additional rigidifications:
"The armor of self-compulsions, the masks that all individual people of the court elite are now developing to a greater extent than before as part of their self, of their own person, also distance people from one another to a greater extent than before. Compared to the previous period Now at the court the spontaneous impulses of people in intercourse with each other are more or less restrained. Considerations, the quick inventory of the situation, finding the course of action, in short, reflections now shift more or less automatically between the affective and spontaneous action impulse and the actual execution of the action In word and deed. Often enough people on this plateau are very well aware of the reflection as a component of this armor. Depending on their location, they evaluate it as positive under the name of "reason" or romantic and negative as a bondage of feeling, as a disturbance Appearance, as a degeneracy of human nature - however you evaluate it, they perceive these self-compulsions, their armor and the type of distancing that corresponds to them, not as symptoms of a certain stage of human-social development, but as the eternal peculiarity of unchangeable human nature. " (Elias 1983: 359/360).
In order to better understand the "Janus-faced" collocal social systems (i.e. their property of eroding conventionalisms on the one hand and consolidating them on the other), one has to identify the additional conditions under which one or the other of these two properties predominates.
At this point, only four such conditions should be pointed out, which could be associated with an increased tendency towards conformity and rigidification:
1) Degree of "public"The risks associated with unconventional, idiosyncratic or deviant behavior increase to the extent that the actor is faced with unfamiliar or uncontrollably changing people.
This situation, which prevails in all public locations (or on larger private occasions such as cocktail parties), is characterized by the fact that every actor
- feels great uncertainty about how his behavior is perceived, interpreted and answered: and above all from ignorance of how the most conventional, intolerant or cheeky "borderline participant" will react to it, sees himself forced to strict conformity and inconspicuousness as a prophylactic;
- It must be expected that those present will rely exclusively on his current behavior in order to get an idea of his personality: because they do not know him from past actions and cannot know about his formal status characteristics.
2) Relevance and "sanctioning power" of those presentThe need for foresight and / or control of external judgments and external reactions evoked by one's own behavior is greater, the more importance these external viewers have for the actor: for example, if they are able to attach considerable sanctions to their judgment or even the future To help determine the fate of EGO's life.
The burden of self-discipline becomes almost unbearable when these relevant people are (still) unknown and unfamiliar: e.g. in job interviews, where everything else depends on how one "exists" a single, irretrievable opportunity for personal self-expression, or at the first rendezvous with a partner of choice, whose outcome will help decide whether there are any further meetings.
Not least thanks to the much maligned hierarchical order of society, it is guaranteed that such influential assessors are often clearly identifiable people who remain in the same roles for a long time, with whom one can at least gradually establish a more intimate relationship. Only a few "performers" therefore need to permanently expose themselves to an audience that is at the same time capable of sanctioning and unpredictably variable and to suffer the "stage fright" characteristic of singers, actors, but also speakers, which is repeated with every appearance.
3) exposurePeople who are in the focal point of collocal attention for causes that are not related to their specific behavior are under particularly pronounced pressure to discipline:
- For physical reasons: e.g. because they stand out due to their height or attract above-average attention because of their noticeable crippling, or because they distinguish themselves from all other people present due to their different age or gender (e.g. as the "only woman among men");
- for structural reasons: e.g. as a conference participant who has taken on the role of chairman or who is now - approaching the microphone - taking on the role of speaker in the discussion;
- For ecological reasons: e.g. as a pub guest who is the only one sitting lonely at the table, or as a late-appearing meeting participant who feels the looks of those present like gauntlets when he walks towards his seat.
4) Time pressureA great advantage of the "correct personal appearance" is that it practically does not need any time to be transmitted intersubjectively as a design unit and to become effective as a starting point for a (albeit more intuitive and diffuse) personal classification of others.
Those who, on the other hand, endeavor to use their behaviors and achievements as media in order to present themselves in a self-chosen way and to evoke a certain image of themselves in others, must be interested in having as much presentation time as possible
- in order to be able to convey the most diverse and differentiated picture of himself through suitable variation of his behavior,
- in order to spread the risk involved in every single action of "creating the wrong impression" through accidental misconduct or situation-related failures over as many opportunities as possible.
- The selection pressure: to choose the "right" behavior patterns that are most optimal for the self-portrayal strategy from among many possible ones;
- the pressure to discipline: to act flawlessly and successfully at this very moment: in order to avoid serious mis-attributions, which you may no longer find an opportunity to correct.
4. The need for habitualized and ritualized behavioral patternsWherever individuals (or collective actors such as organizations) are required to react to unexpected events without delay and as reliably as possible, there is no room for maneuver
- to perceive the specific, perhaps even singular characteristics of an event or a problem situation in a differentiated manner,
- to design a behavior or problem-solving strategy tailored to these specificities, perhaps even completely innovative,
- To test out methods that have not yet been tried and tested, the execution of which one has only incompletely mastered and / or whose causal effects or symbolic connotations one knows too little.
Motorists, mountaineers, detective officers, emergency doctors and disaster relief workers find themselves in the same paradoxical situation that it is precisely the irreversible instability and unpredictability of their problem environment that makes them use a repertoire of extremely rigid programmed reaction rules and behavioral processes that are internalized (as habitualized "reflexes"). and are accessible in the externalized aggregate state (e.g. as a rule manual for police radio strips).
If you still want to act effectively and efficiently in an environment in which you do not know what is happening when, you have to pay for this with the following restrictions:
- Instead of a generalized willingness to solve problems, prepared for any case, there is a limited spectrum of subject-specific willingness to react: depending on the repertoire of accessible rules and routines, which (both in the internal as well as in the external memory state) always have the form of an arsenal of separate individual process programs.
- Because the infinite multiplicity and variability of empirical situations and problem constellations faces only a rigidly limited number of reaction patterns, it becomes necessary to subsume the concrete events under a rough category grid and to apply the same behavioral schemes even to apparently different individual cases.
- Because both institutionally established rule manuals and intra-individual habitualizations are designed for temporal stability and can only be modified with complex procedures, the reactive capacities remain limited to areas of long-term stable and frequently recurring event constellations, while very rarely occurring and qualitatively new cases remain unresolved.
Collocal fields of interaction now have the peculiarity that the participants very often face unexpected events to which they have to react urgently: so that they are more strongly referred to it than in translocal or alocal social relationships, from being rigidly programmed (often in early socialization to be guided by behavioral routines that have been acquired and are hardly accessible to conscious reflection.
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