Skip to content
Archive with last of tag-string Soc


3V0718.01 Who’s there ? (Original notes on homely binding and lonely discovery) (1/10/80)

Peggy’s use of the knock-knock joke script has been monolithic — ie.
she would not respond in the victim’s role, nor would she continue in
any way no matter what response her victim made. This morning,
when I brought some coffee to Gretchen, I heard Peggy talking to
herself in the crib (Miriam was asleep). Peggy said, “Knock-knock.”
waited a while and then said, “Who’s there?” That is, she was clearly
rehearsing the entire joke script of her knowledge. The standard use of
rehearsing implies her objective of later performance. I mean no such
thing, but instead that Peggy was reciting both sides of a dialogue —
because she was alone, had no one to interact with.

Why is this significant ? Later that day, I said to Peggy, “Knock-knock,”
and she responded “Who’s there?” Subsequently, Miriam also noticed
that for the first time in her hearing that Peggy performed the victim’s
role. This seems a very early example of what I now see as a
fundamental process of learning which relates the elements of cultural
knowledge and indicates construction (see workbook, mid-January
1980). This process is the same as Miriam’s playing both sides of a
game in tic tac toe. Through homely processes of social binding scripts
are “memorized” from one role’s perspective. Through a later process
of lonely discovery, the multiple roles of a script are articulated. This
is a theory of enculturation and construction at a level of generality
comparable to Darwinian evolution as opposed to more nearly
computational theories of population genetics – but still it is a
beginning in an area currently too vague and unspecific.


3V0718.02 Tirades: reappearance as singing (cf. P103-105); talking to Scurry. (1/10/80)

Failing earlier to capture Peggy’s tirades mechanically, I’ve been
delighted to find this behavior re-emerge. The most striking example
appeared as Peggy led Scurry around the house on the leash. She spent
considerable time yammering at Scurry as she took her on this inside
walk. Similarly, Peggy has begun singing very openly (and noisily). Her
tune is most various but her words are recognizable — they usually
include (occasionally) “Morning Dew” and “Monkey Zoo” and thus
recognizably classify the tirades as songs. The burden of singing seems
to be repetitions of “Oh no.” Some of Peggy’s singing has been
captured on videotapes P103-P105.


3V0720.02 [joke… knock-knock]: verbally formulated classification based on a single exemplar. 1/12/80)

We all sat at table this evening. Either Gretchen and I teased and all of
us laughed, Peggy too. I believe I asked her what she laughs about (the
joke was one she could not comprehend). Peggy responded, “joke…”
and then continued “knock-knock.” Here is a clear example of verbally
formulated classification.