chapter  6
12 Pages

Basic communication processes

Let us take, for example, a social worker visiting a single-parent family in a rundown neighborhood. While waiting for the parent to get dressed for the interview, the social worker looks around, registering in a reconnaissance activity the performances of platial and activity artifacts. To this appropriately tuned receiver, these artifacts emit volumes about the parents child-rearing skills. In the living room/dining room area squats a large entertainment center, dominated by a 35inch TV performing loudly. Nearby is a coffee table boasting an assortment of junkfood packages, liquor bottles and dirty glasses, and an ashtray overflowing with cigarette butts. Across the room is a soiled couch that exudes stuffing from large tears and reeks of urine. The ceiling light is broken, and the only illumination, beyond sunlight diffusing through closed curtains, comes from a decrepit pole lamp lurking in a corner. Nowhere in the public area of this apartment, however, does the social worker see a single newspaper, magazine, book, or even a writing instrument – with the exception of TV Guide. Together, the memorable emissions of these artifacts permit the social worker to infer an absence of good parenting skills, and he responds by making notations to that effect on a clipboard. In this case, the parent is inferred to be the sender, responsible for modifying the room by emplacing various artifacts there. Although the social worker will eventually conduct the interview, it is unlikely that the conclusion about poor parenting skills would be altered by the parents acoustic emissions in subsequent communication processes.