Direct perception and symbol forming in positioning

Harreà’s positioning theory posits discourse as the concrete context within which selves are produced, but accentuates the dissociation between the physical engagement in a conversation and ‘location’ in a conceptual interpersonal space. The thesis that positioning involves selective attention, and that selected positions express ongoing transformations in the hearer’s experiential realm is expanded here initially by reference to Gibson’s direct-perception theory. The concepts of indexical and symbolic affordances are introduced to describe the function of utterances in setting parameters for hearer’s behavioural and social-relational engagement, respectively. This implicates a construct of ‘psychological value’ , as proposed by C. G. Jung. The essay draws attention to the idea of symbol forming as a process whereby abstract self/world relations are articulated in one’s actions and thoughts, and in which context the ‘reception’ of others’ actions and utterances as having positioning implications may be understood
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DOI 10.1111/1468-5914.00090
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