Re: introductions?

(no name) ((no email))
Thu, 09 May 1996 20:27:35 -0400 (EDT)


The question of the stasis of construct systems!!!!

I have found it very useful to distinguish between CONSTRUCTS and
Other theorists have used other terms --- Sarbin, Taft and Bailey -- in 1962
-- used a similar construction, which they called MODULES. vanDijk and Kintsch
spoke of SITUATION MODELS when they discussed discourse strategies in their
brilliant 1983 work. vanDijk and Kintsch are worth quoting:

"It is this model which supples and collects all the releveant
information for the adequate comprehension of text." [p. 337]
".... To understand the text we have to represent what it is about. If
we are unable to imagine a situaion in which certain individuals have the
properties or relations indicated by the text, we fail to understand the text
itself. If we do not undertand the relations between the local facts and the
gobal facts to which the text refers, we do not understand the text." [p. 337]

I think that we need to broaden our view of text -- any input, after
all, provides "text" for our systems. An abstract sculpting provides text. A
musical compostion provides text. A person pushis his/her self in a wheelchair
marathon provides another text.
It "understand" that text, we must have a system of CONSTRUCTS from
which to assemble a CONSTRUCTION.

We cannot speak of stability of a CONSTRUCTION. Each construction is
developed in the CONTEXT in which the TEXT occurs. Ted Sarbin pushed the point
that a CONSTRUCTION must be taken as a DOING -- not as a HAPPENING. Each
CONSTRUCTION stands a novel occurance.
CONSTRUCTIONS _seem_ to have stability [and this is where personality
theorists have gone all awry, because they have assumed that CONSTRUCTIONS
_are_ stable -- e. g., "I am depressed" -- rather than, "I have built a self
role construction in which I construe myself as DEPRESSED."] The makers of the
highly lucrative MMPI want to believe that the former sentence has ecological
validity. They assume that reporting one's self as DEPRESSED may be seen as a
HAPPENING -- rather than as a DOING: a proactive construction of a situation
model; an anticipatory construction, etc.

Thus, they are betting on stability of CONSTRUCTION.

Stability of CONSTRUCTION, I would contend, seems to occur. It does so
because of relative stability of constructs -- and the relationships between
constructs. [Be sure to note that I used the term "relative stability.]

So, I put my bets on a stable CONSTRUCT SYSTEM!!! -- a stable system of
bipolar judgment scales from which we use as we build CONSTRUCTIONS [about our
self roles, and everything else inthe world]. Or, to use vanDijk and
Kintsch's terms -- a system which allows us "to understand" as we build
situation models.

I still regard the rep grid as a brilliant means of getting at a
person's systems of constructs. I am not willing to say that the current grid
practices are the last word; but when I compare the kinds of things that Brian
Gaines, Mildred Shaw, Jack Adams-Webber, etc., have done with grids to where we
were thirty years ago, and when I see what can happen on a simple desk top
computer -- then I allow myself to believe that the future of grid work is BIG.

We have a long road ahead, and many promises to keep -- but this group
of theorists and researchers -- in my view -- are closest to the promises I
wish to see honored by our discipline.

Jim Mancuso