December 1966

Social Process

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of California Medical Center, the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, San Francisco.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;15(6):577-589. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730180017004

EVERY human being is equipped to relate to others, and this feature is as basic as locomotion, metabolism, respiration, or circulation. This human faculty, which for want of a better term shall be called "social process," can be studied through the observation of four sets of phenomena.

The actual events—that is, those that stand for themselves—can be divided into: (1) behavior, or the functioning of whole organisms or machines and (2) field, or the environmental or situational structure in which this behavior takes place.

The symbolic events—those that stand for other events—can be divided into: (3) communication, or the symbolic functioning of whole organisms or machines and (4) organization, or the social order (context) in which communication takes place.

Unfortunately, the experts who study these processes and fields have little contact with one another, and in the course of time they have developed different theories and methodologies.

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