Re: DSM: Re: Subtle Coercion?


Scott Gray (sgray@aramis.sudval.org)
Sun, 7 Jan 2001 20:50:54 -0500 (EST)


Hi Alan,

  There I agree with you. There is one problem with this line of
conversation -- it is _so_ hypothetical that each person reads into the
scenario a "back story" which is appropriate to thier own inclinations.
  Whether the response is reasonable in a non-coercive environment depends
on lots of factors; as the relationship between the individuals in
question, the tone and subject of the broader conversation in which the
suggestion was made, and the contents of prior discussions between the two
individuals.
  I hope that I have adequately explained why in many instances I _would_
object to that dialogue between a staff and a student. However, I will
accept that there are contexts in which that dialogue (about mice or
books) would be wholly reasonable in a non-coercive environment.

On Sun, 7 Jan 2001, Alan Klein wrote:

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Scott Gray <sdg@aramis.sudval.org>
> >
> > The situation: one person says that s/he doesn't like to read.
> > The response that one person made: "Oh, well try reading this, it is
> > easy to read. I'll loan it to you."
> > The response that is appropriate to a non-coercive environment: Talk
> > about something that _is_ relevent to the person's expressed interests at
> > the time, rather than cajoling her/him to read or otherwise implying that
> > reading is so intrinisically good that s/he _should_ try to read.
> >
> > The problem is, the response "try reading this" implies that there is
> > a problem with choosing _not_ to read. After all, if someone said "I
> > don't like pets" not many people would automatically respond "Oh, well try
> > keeping a mouse, they are easy pets. I'll give you one."
> > There _are_ some behaviors that are a problem (specifically, actions
> > which hurt others), but choosing to spend one's time playing bingo or
> > riding horses rather than reading is _not_ one of them. I do not operate
> > on the assumption that reading is better for _other_ people than riding
> > horses, painting, playing bingo, repairing washing machines, knitting,
> > cartography, or napping (even though I have my own favorite and less
> > favorite activities for _myself_ in that list).
> >
> > Does this help?
>
> Hi Scott!
>
> It helps me see what you find objectionable, so thanks.
>
> I don't share your conclusion, however. I agree 100% that reading is not any
> better than any other acceptable activity. In your pet example, however, I
> DO think that many people would appropriately respond with a suggestion of
> an easy pet to take care of. The other person would be fully able to accept
> or reject the suggestion.
>
> This said, I do see the relationship between the student and the staff
> member as being an important, perhaps THE important, variable in this
> interaction. If this were a new student/staff relationship, then I would
> like to see the staff member tread more cautiously. In a more established
> one, I like to see staff and students be more free in their interactions.
>
> ~Alan
 
--Scott David Gray
reply to: sgray@sudval.org
http://www.sudval.org/~sdg
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