Proxemics: Nonverbal Communication and Social Distance

Topics: Nonverbal communication, Proxemics, Distance Pages: 4 (1374 words) Published: December 27, 2012
Proxemics
Proxemics is a subcategory of the study of nonverbal communication along with haptics (touch), kinesics (body movement),  vocalics (paralanguage), and chronemics (structure of time).[1] Proxemics can be defined as "the interrelated observations and theories of man's use of space as a specialized elaboration of culture". Edward T. Hall, the cultural anthropologist who coined the term in 1963, emphasized the impact of proxemic behavior (the use of space) on interpersonal communication. Hall believed that the value in studying proxemics comes from its applicability in evaluating not only the way man interacts with others in his daily life, but also "the organization of space in his houses and buildings, and ultimately the layout of his towns. It is the study of measurable distances between people as they interact. It is referring to 'the study of how man uses space - the space that he maintains between himself and his fellows and which he builds around him in his home and office'. It is the study of the ways in which individuals use physical space in their interactions with others and how this use of physical space influences behaviour of all concerned. In the words of Professor Hall, proxemics studies 'how man unconsicously structures microspace - the distance between men in the conduct of daily transactions, the organization of space in his houses and building, and ultimately the layout of his towns'. Proxemics is part of culture and is guided and influenced by culture transmission. Proxemics is the hidden dimension of human culture which we practise unconsciously all the time. It is impossible for man to divest himself of his own culture. Culture has penetrated to the roots of man's nervous system and it determines how he perceives the world. Body spacing and posture, according to Hall, are unintentional reactions to sensory fluctuations or shifts, such as subtle changes in the sound and pitch of a person's voice. Social distance between people is...
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