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Which social theorist?

 
 
Reply Sun 19 Feb, 2012 03:08 pm
Which social theorist suggested that when two people talk they create a 'third person' as the sum of the social interactions?
Just can't think of the name.
pq
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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 1,112 • Replies: 14
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vikorr
 
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Reply Sun 19 Feb, 2012 03:44 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Hah - whoever it was, I already like him/her, cause I use a similar model : when two inviduals interact, they create a 'relationship'. They retain their individuality, and they feed the 'relationship'.
JLNobody
 
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Reply Sun 19 Feb, 2012 04:27 pm
@vikorr,
Except that in network theory this "relationship" becomes more complex than that of the actions between just two actors. Each actor brings to each dyadic connection relatively unspecified connections with many others that affect, explicitly or tacitly, their relationships in ways in which each may be unfamiliar. Society consists of complex networks of relationships.
Your theorist might be the sociologist Talcott Parsons--not sure.
cicerone imposter
 
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Reply Mon 20 Feb, 2012 12:59 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Because they always talk in the third person, but I'm not aware of any social theorist who identified this phenomenon.

You, we, me, us, them, he, she, and those people.
0 Replies
 
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Feb, 2012 03:03 am
@JLNobody,
Ah, well that's true - but my model was for a much more simplified purpose (not sure what the social theorist used it for, as it obviously seems very similar)

The 'created relationship' is like living being that two individuals feed - it's health is dependant on the 'food' you feed it. If you stop feeding it, it slowly dies. If you lose interest in it, it slowly dies. If it becomes less important, it 'lessens'.

In my particular model - the two individuals interact and form the relationship. They retain their individuality (which is what they contribute to the relationship) and it is the 'relationship' that feeds back to the individual.

Now - I realise that it doesn't exactly work this way - to me it's just a simple model that helps paint a picture, and problem solve.

- It explains why many marriages fall apart because of boredom/lack of variety (which usually results from not putting as much effort in anymore).

- It also explains why a person who believes 'he/she is my whole world' (and actually stops having any life of their own and existing in the other persons reality) actually puts a great burden on the other person (ie the person that did that gave up their individuality, which is what they used to feed the relationship)

- it explains why women are attracted to 'bad boys' - who's individuality appears very strong, who make their life, and go after what they want (almost regardless of what others want)

I'm sure there are other things it explains, but as I said, while not entirely the whole story...and I'd even question its strict accuracy...but it provides a very simple model to understand the 'core' of relationships.
Procrustes
 
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Reply Mon 20 Feb, 2012 04:07 am
@vikorr,
I think you and JLN are both right in certain respects. Your model does at a glance get to the core of relationships but on the otherhand JLN points out that relationships are based on a network of relationships. It could be said that an individual is made up of experiences based on previous relationships and therefore the core of any given relationshp wouldn't be that simplistic, rather an intricate web of past experiences.
vikorr
 
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Reply Mon 20 Feb, 2012 04:37 am
@Procrustes,
As I said - JL has valid points.

Quote:
It could be said that an individual is made up of experiences based on previous relationships
Yes - this doesn't change my model (it fits into it).

Quote:
and therefore the core of any given relationshp wouldn't be that simplistic, rather an intricate web of past experiences.


One of my views, is that we are entirely responsible for our own outlook on life, include how we handle and view our past relationships. This - is our individuality (part of it anyway). The past becomes a part of you, of your individuality...so it doesn't change my model.
Procrustes
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Feb, 2012 05:18 am
@vikorr,
I think your model is pretty good. I just think individuality in the terms you are talking about does not account for all social interaction. But I think you mentioned that before.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
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Reply Mon 20 Feb, 2012 10:52 am
@vikorr,
Vikorr, your model is valid to the extent that it is useful in directing our attention to aspects of our complex social reality. Of course it is a simplification--all models of reality are simplifications of it: that's their purpose. Oversimplication is another matter. But since you acknowledge that you are not describing reality, only aspects of it, yours is not an OVER simplification. But I do think that when we apply our models to actual experience we, in a sense, TEST them--they are "working hypotheses". For example, your point that social interactions include the effects of PREVIOUS relationships should not direct our attention away from the effects of PRESENT on-going relationships, for example the effects on a marriage of inputs from in-laws and ex-spouses. A dyadic relationship can be seen to be part of a triadic and quadratic relationship as well.
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Feb, 2012 02:08 pm
@JLNobody,
Quite true. The main reason I like this model is that it reminds one (if you use it) to be conscious of two things in your relationship :

1. To keep your own individuality - which is what we all want - to be able to be completely and fully ourselves with others, and for the other person to be fully genuine/themselves with us; and

2. to be conscious of : the effort it takes to grow a relationship and keep it alive; the importance that we place on the relationship effects how 'large' it grows.

Outside influences will of course effect the relationship, but my model of course looks more at an individuals contribution to it.

Let me put it this way - we, to a very large extent, are responsible for who we have in our lives (the number of people and the quality of them) : our friends, our loved ones, our family, our associates that like socialising with us etc. Cultures and other influences will of course play a part, but as a generalisation, anyone who takes responsibility for their own lives should comprehend this.

Perhaps if I compared it to hypothetical models of the human brain - with my model, lets compare it to a model of the 'core / primal' areas of the brain that drive us. Describing this area in a model would be accurate for the core, but not for the entirety of 'being human' (for we all know we are much more complex than that)....yet if you modeled 'higher' models against it (the core model), you would likely gain a greater understanding of how the 'higher' model fits into human life by running it simultaneously alongside the 'core' model (higher models often overlook genetic drives)

In other words - I see the model I use as a good starting point, and after the add complexities in, as a reference point.

It's also useful in that it generates the question 'what am feeding this relationship (what am I contributing to it)' and 'am I being respectful of my individuality and also being respectful of the others individuality' - which are questions we often avoid when difficulties arise. It also helps comprehension of when the other party is making no effort to feed the relationship, what is actually happening. Etc.
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The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2012 08:14 am
I don't know if I agree with this notion of "feeding". I think that as long as two people are engaging in discourse then they are still creating the "third person", although it is possible they might be maintaining some critical distance from it internally.
The Pentacle Queen
 
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Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2012 08:15 am
@JLNobody,
Oh and thanks JL. I don't actually think it was Talcott Parsons, but I can't think of who else it would be either.
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vikorr
 
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Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2012 03:09 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Ugly sounding term isn't it, but used because the 'relationship' is described as a 'living entity' (or in your words 'a third person' - which is essentially a living 'thing')- and living things require food - if you don't feed them, they die. If the entity didn't require food, then it wouldn't be a living entity (and couldn't therefore be described as 'a third person').

Relationships when viewed as an entity in and of themselves draw many parallels to living organisms, including the need for sustenance. If you form a relationship, and then never again interact with it (ie. feed it), it dies (and there are analogies resulting in 'feeding it poison', 'feeding it the wrong food', 'undernourishing it' etc that also hold true to the health of the relationship)
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Feb, 2012 04:52 pm
@vikorr,
I just don't think it's a very useful term. Do you have to be constantly interacting for this 'living entity' not to 'die'? Or is it sustained over periods where one person may be absent? Does it 'die' if the relationship turns 'sour'? etc. etc.
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Feb, 2012 05:15 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quite frankly, you could use any term you like. I personally use 'feeding' because it's analogous to 'input' (or contribution) but associated with living things, while input is mostly associated with inanimate things. You could say 'contribution' but personally, I don't think that fits into the health of the 'living entity' as well a 'feeding the living entity' does.

And of course you introduce a complexity that questions 'the form of sustanance'.

Using the model, you both contribute your individuality :

- if you are standing right next to someone but choose to never speak to him/her, your contribution as an individual is a completely different contribution to :

- if you have a forced absence and can't speak to him/her...

...so the interaction is different...the aspects of your individuality that you contribute to the relationship are completely different. The first one would result in it dying, the second not necessarily so.

You can add memories of the relationship into that equation. And many other factors. As I said - I use the model as a model to :

- help one become aware of their own contributions and the necessity of such, and
- to help one become aware of contributions necessary from the other party (in regard to the health of the relationship),
- to help people realise the importance of individuality (as it is what contributes to the relationship)

It's a core model. Complexities modify the overall, but don't change the core. But it's not 100% accurate in all things (few models ever are).
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