SFB 1187 ›Medien der Kooperation‹ an der Universität Siegen
Workshop: “Holisms of Communication” – Sequence Analysis in the Lewin Circle and the Natural History of an Interview
Thursday, 07. - Friday, 08 May 2020

The workshop “Holisms of Communication” will examine the pre-history of communication analysis and its audio-visual methodology from two perspectives. The first part of the workshop will focus on impulses that originated with the pioneers of early American social psychology, who were mostly Jewish Germans exiled from Nazi Germany, such as Kurt Lewin and Fritz Heider. Both Lewin and Heider began very early on with the systematic use of audio and film recordings in their scientific research. The second part of the workshop focuses on the (ultimately never completed) large-scale project “The natural history of an interview” (NHI), which could be considered the starting point of modern microanalyses of verbal and non-verbal interaction. The NHI brought together researchers from such fields as ethnography, non-verbal communication, human ethology, ethnolinguistics and psychiatry, who collaborated for over 10 years – from 1957 to 1968 – analyzing and transcribing psychiatric family interviews from their respective points of view. The NHI was conceived as a “training manual” for the holistic analysis and transcription of verbal and non-verbal interaction. Among the participants in the NHI were such figures as Gregory Bateson, Ray Birdwhistell and Charles Hockett.