Dissertation Information for Curtis D. LeBaron
MPACT Status: Incomplete - Not_Inspected
Title: Building communication: Architectural gestures and the embodiment of new ideas
Abstract: This is a micro-ethnographic study of hand gestures that were performed repeatedly by participants in small-group negotiations about architectural plans. Occurring naturally within face-to-face interaction, the gestures were captured on videotape and then micro-analyzed using a computer. Three interrelated findings emerged. First, gestures have an observable origin in the practical actions of hands upon material objects. Second, gestures become increasingly symbolic through repeated performance. Third, gestures are a means whereby knowledge is observably shared among those who participate in their co-construction. These findings about gesture serve as a springboard into a discussion of social knowledge and intelligent activity. Gestures are material signs that take shape and observably evolve along with the notions they represent. To perform another person's gesture, then, is to embody (at some level) the notion they represented, showing receipt and understanding at least sufficient for reproduction. The term "building communication" is coined to describe patterns of interaction whereby new ideas take shape: Features include repetition, reduction, emphasis, proximity, and coordination of symbol systems, whereby inference-making is fostered.
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