ERIC Number: ED278615
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Review of "Communication: The Social Matrix of Psychiatry."
Sigmon, Scott B.
"Communication: The Social Matrix of Psychiatry" (J. Ruesch and G. Bateson) is a work that outlines in a more conversational than pedantic way a theory of human communication. The main thrust is to unite two types of organized information: (1) an understanding of the cultural matrix within which the psychiatrist operates; and (2) the nature of interaction between people. The first half of the book, written by the psychiatrist of the pair, Ruesch, is a discussion of human beings in terms of values, human relations, mental illness, and U.S. perspectives. Following this is a contribution by Bateson, the anthropologist, who integrates many areas of science and epistemology into the anthropological approach. From an historical perspective (the book was first published in 1951), the publication is a significant, even seminal work. Its major contributions are that it made others in the behavioral and social sciences aware of the abstract notion of a science of human communication, and it created heuristic interest. Alvin Gouldner, probably the leading sociologist today has incorporated into his lectures such aspects of this book as the "command-report" concept. And, one of the leaders in the field of interpersonal psychotherapy, Paul Watzlawick, developed a more sophisticated theory of communication from the groundwork laid by Ruesch and Bateson. (BZ)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Students; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A